ExcitableBoy wrote:Having worked for the government, I believe these highly unpopular user fees as well as parks closures in Washington State are a way to 'punish' the tax payer for not properly funding the agencies in the first place. I also wouldn't be surprised if a larger portion of the user fees go to adminstration/enforcement costs than goes towards maintainence. I've noticed that unlike Washington State, Oregon which has an income tax, seems to have nicer state parks with more ammenities and are better maintained. Maybe twoshuzz will disagree, but the few Oregon State parks I've visited have seemed to be cleaner and better managed than WA State parks. At the federal level its part of a conspiracy to turn over ownership/management of all public lands to private enterprise. The NW Forest Pass was the first stage.
Can't argue your points at all, EB. An intital brief and cursory plant of the shovel into very shallow ground leads me to believe that well below a single percentage point of Oregon income tax revenue goes to state parks. By the "breakdown" I've seen , roughly 53% of revenue goes to education, 23% safeguarding the health of seniors and children, 17% to public safety leaving 7% to "all others." I have to believe "all others" encompasses a rather large mass leaving state parks and recreation at or near the bottom of the heap, most of those funds going to administrative costs. I would also expect a co-mingling between public safety funding for LEO and other state agencies involved in state park management.
Honestly, over the years I've migrated away from both state and national parks, a mild few exceptions here and there. I believe you are correct in that there does seem to be an evergrowing "push" to turn our federal and state lands over to private enterprise, an effort to remove and redirect those fundings to other areas surely to escalate government waste, perversion and fraud of taxpayer funds. I don't necessarily look at it as punishing the taxpayer as much as I believe it to be more along the lines of punishing the user.
I don't mind paying those fees as much as I object to the growth of more and more individual passes, permits... required for entry, if that makes any sense. For instance, every year I purchase the Oregon Sports Pac for both hunting and fishing. While it allows me to pursue many species on land, water (both fresh and salt), only less than one quarter of that which I'm allowed to harverst hold my interest. By that which goes into my freezer every year, both license and tags purchased individually would this year come in at roughly 40 - 50 bucks under the cost of the "Pac" itself. I simply purchase the pac as a means of providing "extra" funding for ODFW. Perhaps akin to feeding an addict, the optimist within me would prefer to think I'm doing my part to help fund that which I love dearly and to help keep at least our outdoor recreational resources out of the hands of private enterprise.
Public lands are just that IMHO. However, it certainly seems the pursuit to move their management to the private sector is both intact and evergrowing. These issues always seem to pick up steam when budget cuts loom in the not so far distance. As such, I can foresee the move to privatizing those lands down the road. Perhaps the greatest reason for my continual and personal justification for continuing to pay for such passes and permits... the very thought makes me sick.
Here's to your recovery continuing on a rapidily upward trajectory and that you may soon get back to that which you hold dear.