Wednesday, May 04, 2011

New Taxes for Parks?

There are so many reasons why this is a bad idea, increasing taxes to support parks, but just a couple should be mentioned.

Taxpayers are already paying for parks, have been for years; and Doug Ose is correct, as quoted in the story, “Ose said. "I don't believe there's a shortage of revenue. I believe there's a shortage of management creativity."

That really says it all, but for a whole lot of other reasons this is a horrible idea, read the comments section of the Bee article.

An excerpt from the Sacramento Bee story.

“Struggling to preserve its parks amid deep budget cuts, Sacramento County will consider a proposal asking voters to boost sales taxes for a new regional park district that would take control of county parkland.

“The annual budget for parks has been slashed in half, to $2.9 million, compared with a decade ago, and more cuts are planned in the new fiscal year. In response, the county already has leased one park property to a nonprofit and another to a for-profit venture.

“Along the American River Parkway, the jewel of the regional park system, services from basic trash pickup to law enforcement patrols are under strain.

“A committee organized by Save the American River Association aims to stabilize the parks with a 2012 ballot measure raising sales taxes by one-tenth of 1 percent, or 10 cents on a $100 purchase.

“The money would bring in $8.5 million annually to fund a new regional park district. A seven-member elected board would oversee the district, which would take over the 32 parks now managed by Sacramento County.

“The proposal followed a year of study and is modeled after the East Bay Regional Park District, a highly regarded Bay Area agency that manages 56 parks in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

“Bill Davis, who chaired the committee, said the proposal initially arose out of concern for the American River Parkway. But he said the group soon decided a broader approach was needed.

“To take pressure off the parkway, which receives about 8 million visitors annually, the group concluded the county needs to open up more parkland throughout the region. Out of 15,000 acres of county-owned parkland, about 6,000 acres are undeveloped and essentially not available to the public.

"We recognized that unless the rest of (the) system thrives, we're going to be hard-pressed to protect the parkway from overuse," said Davis, a board member of Save the American River Association.

“The committee's members include representatives from Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, the Nature Conservancy, the Environmental Council of Sacramento, neighborhood associations and other park groups….

"I think this is the wrong time to be proposing new taxes of any sort whatsoever," Ose said.. "I don't believe there's a shortage of revenue. I believe there's a shortage of management creativity."