victorthecook: (Default)
[personal profile] victorthecook
OK -- an easy one this time. Prop. 21: $18 annual vehicle license surcharge to fund state parks. Vehicles given free admission to state parks.


To understand my position on this, you have to realize that California's monetary processes are fundamentally messed up. In the abstract, a dedicated parks fee has no particular place on your car registration.

The sensible way to fund public parks would be to have politicians figure out how to spend state revenues, and vote them out of office if they don't spend appropriately. Ha.

California is constrained in the pocketbook by a bunch of factors. Among them: we're required to balance the budget, at least in theory, annually. The last person to demonstrate real prudence in that was... well, Jerry Brown, actually. When he was last governor, the state had a large surplus which he wanted to hang onto for future years. What the voters gave him was the infamous Prop. 13, which cut property taxes, established special rights for the now-hereditary landed class and large corporations, and, crucially, makes any tax increase subject to a 2/3 direct approval from the voters. I'm not a fan, if you hadn't guessed. In practice, raising taxes does not happen.

So we're left to deal with increased expenses by silly means -- a fee doesn't require a 2/3 approval, just a simple majority. I think it's better than charging people $5 every time they want to see a park and turning park rangers into parking rangers. And the status-quo alternative means closing a lot of parks, quite frankly.

I like the parks, which are, collectively, a treasure and a part of the state's identity. I'm upset that this looks like the best way to keep them open and accessible. And I'm voting Yes on Prop 21.

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victorthecook

June 2011

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