Patt Morrison for October 21, 2010

Proposition 21: pay a tax, help a park?

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David McNew/Newsmakers

If passed, Proposition 21 would add $18.00 to the vehicle license fee, money which would go directly toward protecting and preserving state parks.

If passed, Proposition 21 would add $18.00 to the vehicle license fee. The money generated from the fee, approximately $375 million a year, would go directly toward protecting and preserving state parks, which supporters say have been chronically underfunded. In exchange, motorists would get free admission to California’s state parks and beaches. It sounds like a good plan, but opponents say the fee unfairly taxes those least able to afford it and those with more than one car per family. They complain that if voters agree to tax themselves why shouldn’t lawmakers have the ability to earmark some of the money for other underfunded programs like health clinics, public transportations and colleges. Still others ask, shouldn’t the responsibility for paying for parks fall on those using them? Yes on Prop 21 folks note that “parks are in such bad shape that the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named California state parks as one of the 11 most endangered sites in America.” Are our parks worth preserving and is Proposition 21 the best option to accomplish that goal?

Guests:

Alfredo Gonzalez, associate director of external affairs for the Nature Conservancy

Patrick Dorinson, spokesman of NO on 21 campaign


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