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Thread: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

  1. #1
    Member dman's Avatar
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    Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    Here is an article that I found on nbc4i.com about officials proposing user fees for Ohio's state parks. Personally, I thought that's why we pay State taxes. My next thought was that I do a lot of boating in the summer, so are they going to charge us extra for our boat trailers? anyway, here's the article.






    Officials Propose First Parking Fees For State Parks
    Residents Would Pay $5 Per Vehicle

    POSTED: 6:00 pm EST January 6, 2005

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Visitors would have to pay parking fees for Ohio state parks starting in May if lawmakers approve rules to be proposed Friday by the Department of Natural Resources.

    Ohio is among just a handful of states, including neighboring Kentucky and Pennsylvania, that don't charge for hiking, picnicking or most other day uses of parks. But Pennsylvania parks on Wednesday announced that some services would be reduced and parts of facilities closed because of tight finances.

    Under the Ohio proposal, residents would pay $5 daily per vehicle, or buy a $25 annual pass that can be transferred among family vehicles. Seniors with Golden Buckeye cards could get discounted passes for $4 daily or $20 annually. Out-of-state residents would pay $6 or $30.

    Most of the money would be used for maintenance at the park where it's collected, while the rest wold go to a statewide fund for operations and repairs at all 74 state parks, the DNR said. The system now charges only for overnight camping, boat dock rentals and contracts with concessionaires.

    The department will submit the request to a legislative committee that reviews all agency rules and has 90 days to make a decision.

    State support has shrunk while expenses went up, DNR Director Sam Speck said. There were 490 full-time parks workers last year, down 22 percent from 607 in 2000. Also, state budget cuts ended the Civilian Conservation Corps, which built several special projects.

    Raising existing fees and coordinating with volunteer groups hasn't been enough to make up the difference. Without a new revenue source, parks will be less clean, staff less available and roads and grounds less well-kept, Speck told The Associated Press.

    "We simply are reaching a point where we're not going to be able to provide the level of service that people have enjoyed and come to expect," Speck said. "If that experience is hurt and is further eroded, then the loss could be catastrophic."

    Gov. Bob Taft supports the proposal as a way to keep and improve services in a tight budget, spokesman Orest Holubec said.

    New Ohio Senate President Bill Harris said he's torn by the proposal.

    "The fact we're one of the few states that don't charge parking fees is good for the people," the Ashland Republican said. "But I also realize if our parks are not maintained, constituents will be on the phone to us real fast complaining, and rightfully so."

    Karen Tabor, spokeswoman for House Speaker Jon Husted of Kettering, said lawmakers will want to explore all options.

    The Ohio Environmental Council recognizes that finances are "desperate," spokesman Jack Shaner said.

    "We may reluctantly support an entrance fee. However, what we really should be exploring is a dedicated revenue source," Shaner said, such as an additional sales tax on camping or other outdoor equipment. He added he was concerned that lawmakers might again reduce state funding by the amount any such fees raise.

    Fee collection would vary from park to park. Workers would distribute passes at the busiest parks, while the least busy likely would have an honor system, the department said. Pedestrians and bicyclists won't be charged, and the pass won't be required at other DNR facilities such as state forests and nature preserves.
    Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  3. #2
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    When I lived in Wisconsin, we had user fees at state parks. It bothered me when I first moved there, because it was the first place I had ever encountered this. After awhile, I got my mind around the notion that it was important to give the parks a revenue stream for which they wouldn't have to compete with the thousands of other needs in the state budget.

    Wisconsin sold a $30/year pass for residents that allowed unlimited use of the parks for a calendar year. That's really quite a bargain if you are a heavy user of parks.

    Yeah, free parks are better than pay-to-enter parks. But pay-to-enter parks are better than neglected or sold-off-because-they-re-too-expensive-to-keep parks.
    /r/reds

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    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    Does not surprise me... Gov. Bob Tax. How much more money does the state need? The state sales tax has gone up, they legalized concealed weapons permits (not cheap!) and now this.

    Come election time there will not be any punched chads on my ballot for governor. Not even one hanging...

    I do agree w/ Unassisted that it is not expensive. I am not even a camper, but compared to amusement park admissions that it a great deal! However, I see a trend that has developed in the last 2 years in Ohio. They keep taking more and more. And there are even people in this state risk arrest by buying their alcohol and smokes in other states, then transporting it across state lines, b/c Ohio has high sin taxes too. They must feel it is worth the risk b/c the prices for such things are significantly lower in states like Indiana. This was in place before Gov. Tax, but more evidence that Ohians shell it out to their wonderful state government. I am sure it is worse elsewhere... but there seems to be a "new charge" here every few months anymore.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

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    Member TeamCasey's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    I'm used to paying extraordinary fees for camping in New York. I camped every weekend there. Seems Ohio is headed that way. Keep your eyes open, taxpayers.

  6. #5
    MarsArmyGirl RosieRed's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    When I lived in NY it was $7 a car, or $50 something for an annual pass. Well worth the money, as the many state parks around Ithaca were gorgeous ( ), and we used them all the time for hiking and swimming. (Even in the winter, for snowshoeing.)

    I don't go to state parks in Ohio nearly as often as I did in NY. There just aren't many near me. Stonelick, Caesar Creek, Hueston Woods ... ? Regardless, I think $5 a visit is cheap.

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    Member TeamCasey's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    Are we talking about overnight camping or day visits?

    I used to pay anywhere from $12-25 in NY.

  8. #7
    MarsArmyGirl RosieRed's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    Quote Originally Posted by TeamCasey
    Are we talking about overnight camping or day visits?

    I used to pay anywhere from $12-25 in NY.
    I was talking day visits. I think that's what the article is talking about too.

  9. #8
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    At first when I heard the $5, I thought it was per person per day and said "yikes!". Then I read the $5 is per car. Then I read you can get an annual pass for $25.

    I'll spring for the $25 to keep the parks afloat. That's not bad at all. That sticker will go up besides the Hamilton Co. and Butler Co. park stickers we already have.

    Pay attention to the open sky

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    You don't have to pay for state parks?

    Philistines.

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFanAlways1966
    Come election time there will not be any punched chads on my ballot for governor. Not even one hanging...
    Don't tell me you'd vote for a Democrat over Taft?

    I am sure it is worse elsewhere... but there seems to be a "new charge" here every few months anymore.
    Yeah, I know what you mean. Every time I hear of a new fee or tax I think of the Beatles' "Taxman" and this passage in particular:

    If you drive a car, I'll tax the street
    If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat
    If you get too cold I'll tax the heat
    If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    If any of you Ohioans think those state park user fees are the last straw, you can always move to Texas, where the state parks are still free. No state income tax here, either. You definitely won't like your property tax bill here, though.

    When you live in different parts of the country, you come to a realization that government gets its money one way or the other.
    /r/reds

  13. #12
    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R
    Don't tell me you'd vote for a Democrat over Taft?
    :MandJ:

    No, no! I'd leave it blank... no vote for anyone! My way of protesting. I am sure my "voice" will be heard!
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

  14. #13
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    Quote Originally Posted by Unassisted
    If any of you Ohioans think those state park user fees are the last straw, you can always move to Texas, where the state parks are still free. No state income tax here, either. You definitely won't like your property tax bill here, though.

    When you live in different parts of the country, you come to a realization that government gets its money one way or the other.
    Yeah. I lived in Kansas for a year and when it came time to register my vehicle, it cost me about $250. Most of it was for property taxes on the car.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

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    Member dman's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R
    Don't tell me you'd vote for a Democrat over Taft?



    Yeah, I know what you mean. Every time I hear of a new fee or tax I think of the Beatles' "Taxman" and this passage in particular:

    If you drive a car, I'll tax the street
    If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat
    If you get too cold I'll tax the heat
    If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet
    Hey I can relate to what RFA is talking about here. When Taft first ran the only other choice was Lee Fisher. The second time around the only other choice was Hagen. It was almost as though our choice was to vote for the Anti-Christ or Satan himself for governor. As for the government getting their money one way or the other, I think here soon we'll all be getting bent over and having it broke off in us.
    Last edited by dman; 01-08-2005 at 02:13 AM.

  16. #15
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Proposed "User Fees" for State Parks

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R
    Don't tell me you'd vote for a Democrat over Taft?
    I'd vote in Satan himself to get rid of Taft.

    GL


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