Prop 21: Why Californians don't need a car tax to save their state parks

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Nov. 02, 2010

Bleh, the way to privatize a park is to sell it to the highest bidder and split the proceeds among taxpayers. You don't set up some crony capitalist private-public partnership.

Is it run better by a quasi-private company?

Of course it is, but the last thing you want is to have an efficient government.

Do you want the IRS to steal from people more efficiently? Do you want the police to enforce all our insane laws more efficiently? Do you want the regulators and the EPA to enforce all their insane laws more efficiently? Do you want the military to enforce martial law more efficiently?

We'd all be in jail if government was actually efficient and actually accomplished what it set out to do. Government's incompetence is freedom's greatest ally.

This is the Koch's brand of libertarianism, it's just crony capitalism masked behind libertarian rhetoric. We need real private property and real privatization, not government leasing taxpayer facilities to the politically connected and yet still retaining control.

The government had no right to seize these properties and declare ownership over them in the first place, sell them at auction and return them back to the people, it's up to them what they decide to do with them. - Chris

Once considered the best in the nation, California's state parks are falling apart due to chronic underfunding and mismanagement. The park system has a backlog of $1 billion in deferred maintenance and, last year, 150 of California's parks closed part-time or suffered service reductions.

What's the solution? Supporters of Prop 21 believe that the answer lies in a new car tax. If Prop 21 passes in November, California drivers will have to pony up an additional 18 bucks when they register their cars. In exchange, California drivers will be able to use state parks during the day without paying an entrance fee.

Does it make sense to tax drivers to subsidize park users? What's the alternative?

We went to Sedona, Arizona and met with Warren Meyer of Recreation Resource Management. As Meyer explained, California doesn't need a car tax to save its parks. Instead, California should contract with private park management companies that can manage parks more efficiently than public agencies while actually paying rent to the government for the right to do so.

Approximately 7.5 minutes. Produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning.

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