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Proposition 21 would add an $18 surcharge to the annual vehicle license fee. The money would be dedicated to help fund state parks and wildlife programs. If a vehicle paid the surcharge fee, it grants that vehicle free admission to all state parks.

Currently the “America the Beautiful” – National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass is $80. That pass allows admission to all Federal recreation sites on an annual basis. Most California state parks have a single entry vehicle fee that is in the range of $5 to $15 per day depending on the park and time of year. Anyone who goes to California state parks will end up paying less in vehicle fees if proposition 21 passes.

Visitors to the parks would still have to pay for camping, tours, and other activities.

This encourages people to use state parks and creates a feedback loop of going to the parks:

► Better service/experience due to more funding

Going to the park

Exercise and fresh air are crucial to a healthy lifestyle, but the government can’t force you outside. Most of us living in urban areas also have to deal with air quality issues. This could potentially lead to a healthier population by slightly nudging people to visit their state parks, get outside, see nature, breathe some fresh air, hike… you catch my drift, right?

California has 278 state parks (find the nearest one to you or click here if you are viewing on mobile). State parks have been funded at about $300,000,000 annually over the last 5 years. Historically, state parks have been underfunded, and recently with budget pressures, there has been a serious lack of funding. This proposition would generate about $500,000,000. This money would replace a portion of the funding that comes from the general fund. It would also offset regular day-use fees, which amount to about $50,000,000.

Most of the additional revenue, which could total to as much as $200,000,000, will be used to address the significant deferred maintenance in state parks.

Arguments against are centered around proposition 21 being a car tax. People with low income already have difficulty dealing with the economic barriers of transportation and most think this tax will be another huge barrier.

Resources to Check Out Before Election:
Official California’s Secretary of State’s Voter Guide on Prop 21: http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/propositions/21/

Official Yes on Prop 21: http://www.YesForStateParks.com/
No on Prop 21: http://voteno21.com/
Official Information on California’s State Parks: http://www.parks.ca.gov/

NOTE: My goal is raise both side of the issues, but if you don’t think I did justice covering your side, please feel free to write a comment below sharing your point of view and let’s start the discussion.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers represent their own and not of HMT. Please see disclaimer for more information.