Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by DimeBrite, May 16, 2009.
I think it is a given that all of us here love state parks and will be contributing the $5 per car when its time to register (I will be). That's really not the point here.
This is the point: Gregoire is hiding behind our benevolent nature as state park loving folks to bail her out of using her authority to raise a fee or tax to prevent their closure. The governor won't make the decision to fund the parks with involuntary user fees. Instead she threatens to close or sell them off, and we come running right on cue with $5 bills to save them. Gregoire knows that the parks won't be closed or sold, because the she knows the people of Washington respond to this blackmail tactic when it comes to popular programs. The governor and the legislature exacerbated the budget crisis by overspending from 2004-2008, with no preparation for a recession. To make up for this blunder she should at least have the political courage to institute direct user fees to keep them open (not this silly voluntary car registration tax feel good crap). Leadership is the point.
$5.00 comes out to about 1.3 cents a day.....I'd rather pay to "possibly" keep the parks open, than not and "probably" see them closed......
First thing is, under the new plan you check the box to not pay the $5. If you do nothing the fee/tax is automatically charged. That gives the state a stable funding base. I believe that the funds will go to a dedicated account for the parks rather than to the general fund and that's a good thing.
Second point is more about the decision to close the parks in the first place. I agree that how the state and federal gov't spends our money needs to be changed ( subsidies to the oil and gas industry, farm subsidies to mega corporations especially) but when the shit hits the fan like it has in the past year you have to expect cuts in programs that aren't essential. Health care and schools and public safety are higher priorities than parks, period. I don't like it but that's the reality. To those who choose to rail against the governor about not controlling spending, you can't have it both ways. She chose to cut spending on your pet project. So suck it up I say or you're just being a hypocrite. I don't like the negative check off system but it's a lot better than closing the parks ( even though they still may close or transfer some of them). The state does need to improve the operational efficiency of state parks. A regional maintenance crew could cut the grass etc. for a large number of parks in it's area rather than having the ranger at each station have to do it.
Josh has illustrated the point of the whole public budget snafu. This is dull. so I apologize in advance if it sounds like I'm talking down to ANYONE.
Aside from minor user fees, this state is financed by sales tax. Like those Americans who live on monthly income and credit, the state projects how much it will "earn" for the year, roughly 8% of all goods and services sold in the fiscal year. Knowing what they have to work with, mandates are established, telling managers how many staff to hire, how much gas they'll buy and on and on. We build expectations and comfort with a level of service, which we naturally take for granted and expect. Then, just like a family that loses a wage earner, income we've always taken for granted evaporates. Then you've got choices of what bill to pay. Power or the doctor? Well, the doctor can't shut my blood off, so we pay for electricity. The government didn't lose money it already had, like at a casino, they lost the historical funding source for programs already in existence.
Unfortunately, the government has been doing the same thing the citizens have, over extending, falsifying income, and tacking on the pork. The rest of the analogy involves a population that thought it "deserved" granite counter tops, giant televisions, SUV's and 3500 square foot homes on a light beer income. I'm disgusted by how foolishly we've borrowed ourselves into such a mess, but scarcely surprised that our elected officials have been running public business just like their constituents manage their personal finances. Can we hold these people to a higher standard than ourselves? I mean really, not ideologically.
You think paying $5 for state parks sucks? Wait until our traditional friends like China, Japan and Germany call in the zillions of $ in bonds we've borrowed to buy fuel from the Saudis so we can blow up the Iraqis.
Sorry about that last one, once I start ranting it's like eating peanuts.
One more time: The complaint isn't about paying the $5 fee. It is about the govenor's lack of will to have a mandatory user fee to pay for the parks she left in the lurch via her poor budgeting skills.
If Dino won we wouldn't be in this holy hell of mess!!!!!
He would have balanced the budget, saved our souls and there's no way the queers would every be able to marry eachother! Forget the parks we need to take care of the really important stuff :rofl::rofl::rofl:
Meanwhile Gregwhore and co. laid off 240 teachers in the area..........
That chapps my ass 10x more than paying an extra 5$ a year to use a state park.
FWIW, my wife just gave me the go ahead for planning an long weekend outing. Her MBA course work will be done in time for the fun. The weather looks promising and there is not a single campsite for tents or trailers in the entire state system. The exception is the handful of ADA sites that I don't qualify for and the handful of non-reservable sites that the park keeps vacant to rotate site usage. Seems there are enough using the resource to find a way to fund the continued use. For us it will be day use locations because of our last minute planning, such is my life.
I for one hope the new plan works. It's miles better than the last attempt to save the parks with $5 collection boxes at every Sate Park. I eventually bought the $50 Season Pass sticker to put on my windshield, and would do so again if that's what it takes. It does cost a lot of money to keep everything running, not just the parks, and giving those that use them a chance to save them with next to nothing out of our pockets is a gift in my mind.
It was not so long ago that I was paying $5 every time I used a State Park access, buying a $50 annual tag and also paying for my fishing guests. That aded up to a lot of money for shore and beach fishing access every year. I didnt mind because it made me a stakeholder on a higher level. I didnt mind because I felt it was helping to keep the parks open. I do know that some people out here on the Olympic Peninsula were overwhelmed by the added expense and many people were driven away from the parks because of that fee. $5 a year is the least we can do to help keep the State Parks running in a solid way. I would gladly donate a $50 annual tag fee again too.
iagree Me too, but with any of these new fees I want to know that that money is going into a pot for park/recreation and not the general fund. Once it's in the general fund it can vaporize.
Five flounder this weekend, better than nothin'...
...talk about hitting the nail on the head, good job, Don!!
And it goes even deeper but I'm not gonna get into that crap! :beathead:
iagree This statement is why I have a problem with this "new tax". Who checks these yahoos to make sure they spend the money correctly and efficiently? The argument of, "well, the past is the past and there is nothing we can do now", is a typical rubber spine comment. My question is; did it even require $100 million (on top of the usage fees) to maintain the State Parks? It should not cost as much as they make it out to be. It is not good spending if some yahoo in charge of the Park system pays some brother in-law, or something, who owns a sewage company, $100,000 to go and empty out 2 porta-crappers. Don't know if this happens, but the big wigs do waste cash like this, almost $400,000 for a picture of air-force one:beathead: Look, I agree with a lot of what some of you are saying, but next to none of you have said anything about making sure they spend this extra tax correctly, a lot are just saying give them extra money and they will take care of things (like the past:beathead. Look, if I give them more cash, I damn well want them to do what they are supposed to do with it. I mean, would you continue to put your money in the bank if every time you went to get some of it they had spent it all, so now you don't have anything?
Just an idea, I’m not sure if it would work, but it is still an idea. How about using the money (responsibly) that is generated from the usage fees towards the Parks. For example, the money that a boat launch, parking and camping generate for an individual park goes into maintaining that specific park. This would include funding the staff (if necessary), garbage/sewage, and general clean-up. What that park generates in funds is what it gets put into maintenance. Try and get volunteers to clean things up, I know there are those out there that would do this. This might not help them maintain the most pristine appearance, but it would help to ensure they stay available for use. I mean do you really need all that luxury when camping or launching a boat/float-tube/pontoon/whatever?
Blackmail? I doubt it. The money has to come from somewhere and if we don't pony up the $5 we could lose the parks or have them come under a local jurisdiction which could then levy a whole lot more than $5 to enter. $5? That's a couple of beers or a king sized Latte' whatever you plleasure. It's worth it to see someplace like Dash Pt State Park not fall under control of the City of Federal Way. That would be a real cluster!
The issue at hand is not how much we love and value having access to our state parks, but rather how our leaders managed our funds, how transparent they are in that effort and to a lesser degree how they set priorities.
I agree this is a form of blackmail. I also agree $5 is not much. However we need to recognize that user fees are really taxes in disguise and in WA they have historically started unobtrusively low and then grown dramatically. Just recognize that and remember that when in 3 years time you see them grow again as funding is reduced in the regular budget as we've shown ourselves to be open to emotional manipulation by our leaders.
My fear is that we're really enabling them to continue to be irresponsible with the budget.
The budget has grown substantially again this year, that makes 4 years of rapid expansion of spending with no significant growth in the tax base. Last October it was announced that the budget shortfall would be a relatively minor $3 million. Then 4 days after Gregoire is voted in it was announced that the shortfall was really $8 million. Now do you see why I fear we're enabling them; don't you feel the slightest bit of cynicism sneaking into your brain?