Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Budget follies short-takes:
Fund the parks!



Given the number of things I find myself advocating for (and against), I find it almost embarrassing to be posting this. But the cliché is true: the National Parks are one of this country's best ideas.

One of the pleasures of some of my travels has been to enjoy other country's parks, notably in Mexico, Argentina and Chile. Everywhere the maintenance of areas reserved for public enjoyment is a rare instance of the public good overriding private selfishness. Let's keep it that way.
***
Meanwhile in California, a large coalition of conservation organizations is working to protect and fund the 278 state parks through a ballot initiative slated for November 2010. The measure

... would provide a stable, reliable and adequate source of funding for the state park system, for wildlife conservation and for increased and equitable access to those resources for all Californians. The initiative would give California vehicles free admission to the state parks in exchange for a new $18 vehicle license fee, which would be specifically dedicated to state parks and wildlife conservation.

Like any other sensible Californian, I know that budgeting by way of initiative measures is an idiotic way to run a state. But, but, but -- with the likes of Meg Whitman on the horizon and Republicans blocking all taxes in the legislature, I have to support this one. Parks are part of what makes this state special. They are well used by all sorts of people. And once we lose the staff and even the lands themselves, we'll never get them back.

(Since we're in national budget season, I'm not going to to resist offering occasional short comments on budget matters and process under this headline, just as I have done about health care reform. I have strong foundational views on what the U.S. government ought to be doing about and with taxpayers' money that I've laid out in this post.)

1 comment:

libhom said...

What California really needs is a ballot proposition to make the rich pay their fair share in taxes. That would replace the budget shortfalls with surpluses. There isn't a place in the country where the rich pay anywhere near their fair share.

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