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  1. #1
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    2012 State Park Free Days

    A belated FYI:

    Following are the 2012 State Parks "free days"(No Discover Pass required):

    Jan 14 through 16 – Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend
    March 18 and 19 – In honor of Washington State Parks' 99th birthday on March 19
    June 9 – National Get Outdoors Day
    Sept. 29 – National Public Lands Day
    Nov. 10 through 12 – Veterans Day weekend

    And a plug from me: State Parks is expected to become self-supporting thru Discover Pass sales (not really fair, but that's a subject for the politics thread); so if you like riding trails in State Parks, buck up!

  2. #2
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  4. #4
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    Wait a minute...

    Unlike a similar bill that recently passed the Senate unanimously, the House bill would add a $10 registration fee on all recreational vehicles until 2015 to go toward state parks.

    What do they mean "recreational vehicle"...

    Edit=Oh they're talking OHV, ok sorry i'm half asleep.
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  5. #5
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    Rocky Rider et al, I think the court decision on USFS fees is great: this is not the way to fund recreation uses on public land!

  6. #6
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    So I'm really curious what people think the best way is to fund recreation on public lands. Seems to come down to 1) general fund taxes 2) user fees or 3) private concessionares take over. Sure taxes are the most efficient way to fund, and maybe the fairest, but what do you do when the legislators don't budget for public lands and recreation. In the fight for limited funds with education, human services, defense, etc. is it realistic to think that user fees arent going to be part of the mix going forward. Won't it just be recreation that suffers if the agencies dont have the money to operate? Are there other more creative solutions (I dont see just demanding more "efficiency" as creative)? Is greatly reducing the NW Forest Pass revenues (a definite possibility from this ruling) worth it if we lose trail and trailhead maintenance?

    Thanks!

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    Taxes=efficient???

  8. #8
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    More efficient than land managers collecting and enforcing fees. Land managers I've talked to would rather not play cop.
    There's a big difference between ripping and skidding. Those who skid don't know how to ride.

  9. #9
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    Hi RR,

    Yup I really do mean efficient, but specifically for collection. People can argue about whether the use of funds is efficient but general taxes have the lowest overhead costs for collection. Pay-to-play is the least efficient with high cost for implementation, operation, and enforcement. Take it to the extreme and imagine that each trail or trailhead has separate fees and has to be self-sustaining.

    So what do people feel is the best and fairest way to fund? And what if that isnt happening with our legislators, are recreation issues important enough to you to be a factor in who you vote for in federal, state, local elections?

    Thanks

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    I don't know how much this will help, but the American Assn of CPA's came up with these general principles for a good tax system about 12 years ago:
    Equity and Fairness - Similarly situated taxpayers should be taxed similarly.
    Certainty - The tax rules should clearly specify when the tax is to be paid, how it is to be paid,
    and how the amount to be paid is to be determined.
    Convenience of Payment - A tax should be due at a time or in a manner that is most likely to be
    convenient for the taxpayer.
    Economy in Collection - The costs to collect a tax should be kept to a minimum for both the
    government and taxpayers.
    Simplicity - The tax law should be simple so that taxpayers can understand the rules and comply
    with them correctly and in a cost-efficient manner.
    Neutrality - The effect of the tax law on a taxpayer’s decisions as to how to carry out a particular
    transaction or whether to engage in a transaction should be kept to a minimum.
    Economic Growth and Efficiency - The tax system should not impede or reduce the productive
    capacity of the economy.
    Transparency and Visibility - Taxpayers should know that a tax exists and how and when it is
    imposed upon them and others.
    Minimum Tax Gap - tax should be structured to minimize non-compliance.
    Appropriate Government Revenues – The tax system should enable the government to
    determine how much tax revenue will likely be collected and when.

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    There are several other factors to consider, like revenue volatility and revenue adequacy. Specific to the issue at hand, it would be mathematically impossible for the Discover Pass in current form to support State Parks at anything close to the level of the general fund budget they had in the previous biennium (i.e. even if every household in the state pitched in). With zero general fund support, right now the Discover Pass is not part of a "mix"!

    I don't know what the answer is, but the Legislature's approach of switching from general fund to 100% fee support in less than 2 years is not a sound approach to governance.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFitz View Post
    There are several other factors to consider, like revenue volatility and revenue adequacy. Specific to the issue at hand, it would be mathematically impossible for the Discover Pass in current form to support State Parks at anything close to the level of the general fund budget they had in the previous biennium (i.e. even if every household in the state pitched in). With zero general fund support, right now the Discover Pass is not part of a "mix"!

    I don't know what the answer is, but the Legislature's approach of switching from general fund to 100% fee support in less than 2 years is not a sound approach to governance.
    exactly

  13. #13
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    Comparing general fund vs trail pass fees that have come into vogue its already been pointed out the pass fees become an enforcement job not a trail fixing job. The land manager who may well prefer to work on a trail may end up assigned to maximize revenue or worse become unemployed.

    My special friend learned the Moran State park rangers position was eliminated due to the shortfall.. None on mt Olympus were harmed as far as we know so far but who will collect the money in the park. Woe is WA.

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