HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — It’s election time in California again and voters are given the chance to directly make laws when they vote for or against the various propositions found on this November’s ballot.
One controversial proposition is Prop 21, which imposes new fees on car registrations to pay for state parks. Although state parks are essential, California drivers are already paying exorbitant registration fees and taxes just to own and operate a vehicle in the state. I am against this proposition and think California drivers are paying enough fees just to drive their cars, so enough is enough.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Proposition 21 would impose an $18 surcharge on vehicle registrations, raising $500 million a year and would provide consistent funding for state parks and wildlife conservation programs. The state would eliminate day-use fees at state parks and parking charges for California residents, although camping fees and boat launching charges would remain at state parks that offer those services.
I love parks and enjoy them. I know how important they are to preserve areas of the state for future generations and to allow current generations to enjoy them and to learn from them. But its just not fair to make California drivers foot the bill to keep parks free. I’m not sure what the answer is, but in these difficult economic times, with so much unemployment, coupled with gas prices at their highest levels in years, its just not the right time to do this.
Although it may be different in other areas, Los Angeles is made for the car. The landscape is covered with freeways and the public transportation system is sorely lacking. For those of us who live here, a car is practically a necessity to get to work, school and/or to do basic life errands. Its already outrageously expensive, with gas, parking, insurance, maintenance, enough is enough, we can’t afford another fee.
We have several cars in the family and pay huge bills each year for registration. We have a 2007 Mercedes C230, which costs us about $250 a year to register. We also have a vintage 1968 Pontiac Firebird, even this costs about $100 a year to register. California also suffers from some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country, adding to the financial burden drivers must carry.
Maybe the solution is corporate sponsorship. Create a public/private partnership and offer companies visibility in exchange for funding. Would you really mind to see the Microsoft logo on park signs? Its fine with me, as long as its done in a classy, respectful way. We certainly don’t want to see signs and billboards erected all over California’s parks, with space available to the highest bidder. But again, maybe some kind of overall deal can be reached with appropriate corporate sponsors to provide the necessary funding to keep California state parks fee free to California citizens, both to enter and to park their cars.