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chubbychu's avatar

Proposition 21, I'm for it. But I'd like to hear your opinions.

Asked by chubbychu (145points) October 3rd, 2010

The California State Parks initiative has become convoluted with opinionist and columinsts writing about what it is and isn’t in the hand of the government. But at the core of the issue lies the well-being of our state parks.

Below is a rebuttal to the idea of making only park users pay and the fact that it’d disproportionately affect poor people.

“I can conceivably see park attendance dropping due to the exorbitant cost of rising park fees which in turn makes it even more costly. Say, $20.00 to enter yosemite? Sure. $50.00 to enter yosemite? Maybe. $100.00? hmm, would you want to spend $100 to enter a park? I wouldn’t.

With this model of pay-to-play, the parks enter into somewhat of a downward spiral. Not to mention the poor are even LESS able to enter the park. If a “poor” person couldn’t pay $18.00 a year, what makes them able to pay $20.00 a day (which it currently is)?

All this however, is contingent upon the fact that we as a society actually want parks. See, the thing about parks is that few people actually use them, yet parks are for everyone to use (even the poor). How many people would willingly let a beautiful ocean state park, or the Redwoods go to ruins? But on the flip side, nobody really wants to pay for them. In my opinion they’re our natural treasures which should be preserved and maintained. Not to mention, with this relatively small “tax/fee” I know I’d be more invested and compelled to use these parks more often.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not a tree hugging, state park loving hippy. “Unjust” federal taxation and fiscal responsibility is also another side issue here. But I just think that people can be so cloistered in their lives sitting in front of the television or computer that they forget there is a big exciting world out there. And when they actually want to go hiking up Mission Peak or to see Halfdome, it’s not gonna be there because $18.00 a year was too much.

Sure, if nobody wants em, get rid of it. Turn it into a landfill, or let it go unattended. It’d be sad to see our national parks turn into just another strip mall or vacation getaway housing.

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10 Answers

crisw's avatar

Although I agree with you, you don’t explain what Prop. 21 is. which means almost everyone outside of CA and lots of Californians won’t have the vaguest idea what you are talking about.

muppetish's avatar

@crisw The Califiornia Official Voter Information for Proposition 21 can be perused here. The summary: “Establishes $18 annual vehicle license surcharge to help fund state parks and wildlife programs. Grants surcharged vehicles free admission to all state parks. Initiative Statute.” and “Exempts commercial vehicles, trailers and trailer coaches from the surcharge. Fiscal Impact: Annual increase to state revenues of $500 million from surcharge on vehicle registrations. After offsetting some existing funding sources, these revenues would provide at least $250 million more annually for state parks and wildlife conservation.”

I have not read through the details of the proposition yet (as I do not have my official voter guide sitting in front of me and haven’t bothered to read them online yet) but I’ll do so today and get back to this post.

chubbychu's avatar

Oh right-o sorry. thanks @muppetish. To reiterate. It’s $18.00 on top of your vehicle registration that supposedly will go towards state parks.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’d be totally opposed to the measure as @muppetish was so kind to paraphrase / extract it. It’s a totally regressive tax. People scraping by on minimum wage to try to keep a vehicle on the road would be required to pay a disproportionate share of their income for a tax that many wealthy people would consider a rounding error in a tip for a good lunch. In fact, this tax would guarantee that more of the poor people paying it would be prohibited from visiting the park simply because the $18 fee made enough of a dent in their budget that they couldn’t afford the gas to make the trip. And the fact that it’s an annual fee means that those people couldn’t just forgo a $20 for several years and splurge on a trip every four or five years.

No, this tax, if it passes and catches on, will be used to fund far too many other “nice-to-have” features that people want to keep in government hands… and want to keep the riff-raff out, while smiling and pretending “it’s for all of us”. I suppose libraries would follow soon after, then city hall itself.

Terrible, awful idea. I hope it fails miserably. I’m afraid that it won’t, because too many voters are too stupid to see what’s perfectly plain to anyone who can think.

chubbychu's avatar

@CyanoticWasp, first of all, thank you for your outstanding take on this issue. It seems like it’s the issue of taxation and what the government is going to do with the money that you’re more concerned with? And what of the parks themselves?

I think with matters like this it’s important to remember that we all agree to disagree.

chubbychu's avatar

Ahh I get it now, it’s not a parks issue. Nobody is opposed to parks. What we are opposed to is the state spending our money wantonly and putting bandaid solutions in our VLFs.


hobbitsubculture's avatar

I’m still a little unclear on what this is. From the summary in the question, it sounds terrible. Ever increasing fees to enter state parks? No thanks?

Going by @muppetish‘s quote, I think I’d be for this. An $18 annual fee isn’t that much. Most state park admission fees that I’ve seen are $5—$9 per visit. So that annual $18 is well worth the money, for those who use state parks. Provided that the fee is voluntary, and not something everyone is getting hit with regardless of their park use, this sounds great. I would pay, and I am poor.

Am I missing something with this?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@hobbitsubculture I don’t see that it’s optional. That’s my primary objection.

hobbitsubculture's avatar

@CyanoticWasp In that case, I’d disagree with it on principle. Because if it were some other mandatory fee, I’d be pissed. Although, for entirely selfish reasons, I would still be for this.

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