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Twispted

Kiss my Discovery Pass

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Bill and Fairweather,

 

This thread is about how user fees for using public lands are anathema and I get it: I hate user fees. I think public lands should be free. But your arguments against the fees for access to public lands revolve around the idea that you think State government is wasteful. I have some sympathy for this idea (and I work for State government), but I don't see any suggestions how else we should fund the operation and maintenance of public lands.

 

Ideas?

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Bill and Fairweather,

 

I get it: you think State government is wasteful. I have some sympathy for this idea (and I work for State government), but I don't see any suggestions how else we should fund the operation and maintenance of public lands.

 

Ideas?

 

No you don't get it. Re read my post, I asked for info. You have nothing? Just say so. I'd like to see a bar chart of the last centuries spending per person of total Washington Government spending. I was unable to find one. Really.

 

They may be collecting less revenue and actually need more. Is that the case? I really do not know.

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I hate the whole idea of user fees for public lands, because I think public means "Public" -- or at least it should. But I still don't see a lot of discussion here about what may be the alternatives. Close all of them? Pay taxes? Something else besides user fees?

 

We can argue about whether public employees' unions are a good idea in another thread, perhaps, but here it seems relevant to note that the Discover Pass is a raw deal but I'll buy one and I wonder: do those of you who talk about how the government will only waste the money have another idea how to fund public lands management and maintenance?

 

To borrow a phrase from another political context: freedom isn't free. Public freedom to enjoy public lands actually costs money.

 

It's simple Matt. Taxes should fund this kind of stuff way high up on the list. It should be one of the last things that gets cut.

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Bill,

 

Your post asked what the last 50 years of Washington government spending per person looked like. I have no clue. You are in just as good of a position to research this as I am.

 

You linked a website that had a lot of information, I'm sure, but what is the message?

 

Is there a good idea about how to fund the operation of public lands - other than taxes or user fees? Or closure?

 

 

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Bill and Fairweather,

 

This thread is about how user fees for using public lands are anathema and I get it: I hate user fees. I think public lands should be free. But your arguments against the fees for access to public lands revolve around the idea that you think State government is wasteful. I have some sympathy for this idea (and I work for State government), but I don't see any suggestions how else we should fund the operation and maintenance of public lands.

 

Ideas?

 

Well, I think the extra five bucks we've all been paying on each of our vehicle registration renewals the past few years was/is a good program--as are the volunteer efforts of groups like WTA and other organizations. It does seem like this new 'Discover Pass' program is a slap in the face to those who have already demonstrated a willingness to pay or participate--or both. "Let no good deed go unpunished" seems to be the state motto in this case.

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Bill,

 

Your post asked what the last 50 years of Washington government spending per person looked like. I have no clue. You are in just as good of a position to research this as I am.

 

You linked a website that had a lot of information, I'm sure, but what is the message?

 

Is there a good idea about how to fund the operation of public lands - other than taxes or user fees? Or closure?

 

 

We already pay taxes. Fund the parks first.

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Bill and Fairweather,

 

This thread is about how user fees for using public lands are anathema and I get it: I hate user fees. I think public lands should be free. But your arguments against the fees for access to public lands revolve around the idea that you think State government is wasteful. I have some sympathy for this idea (and I work for State government), but I don't see any suggestions how else we should fund the operation and maintenance of public lands.

 

Ideas?

 

Well, I think the extra five bucks we've all been paying on each of our vehicle registration renewals the past few years was/is a good program--as are the volunteer efforts of groups like WTA and other organizations. It does seem like this new 'Discover Pass' program is a slap in the face to those who have already put demonstrated a willingness to pay or participate--or both. "Let no good deed go unpunished" seems to be the state motto in this case.

 

This is all a scheme to fund other stuff. What is the guarantee that these use permits actually go to funding the parks?

 

Maybe our legislators should take a pay cut and reduce their staff and expenditures. Yeah, right.

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The message is that if we could all look at what the total annual state spending is, then we'd know for certain if they were really in dire needs with their backs against the wall In which case there would be many supporters and silence on this payment tax to park issue). I'd like t see it in steady dollars (with inflation factored in) over a 50 year or longer period.

 

Until then, we are basically taking them at their word that this is mission critical. Some do not believe it. Count me in that group until I see some facts. I've been wrong enough in my life to not doubt I could be wrong again. Easily. And if they really need it, I have extra and would toss a few extra into the pot. Really.

 

I really didn't see the chart I wanted and I looked Matt. Being straight up here, don't read any subterfuge into my words as I mean none.

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KK: did you vote for taxes in the last election? You remember: the one where income taxes and candy taxes were at issue?

 

Yes, I realize that we all pay taxes. The plain fact is that we also all know that State revenues are way down due to the economic slump. And costs of operation are going up. We can argue (in Jay's spray thread) whether public benefits or public employee's unions are the "problem." But the State budget is being cut - as regards all departments from law enforcement to public assistance, public employee compensation, and, yes, public lands. These cuts are hitting everybody.

 

How SHOULD the State pay for your hobby?

 

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Matt, when I drive out to the area where the $30 fee is, I see a Washington Dept of transportation project to straighten the road in a few spots that they are paying close to 10 million bucks for, that by all accounts doesn't appear to be necessary. That's 33,000 plus passes, with no extra fees and costs to administer them. Total money maker, just cease the bullshit project. So don't straighten out SR 14, and fund the parks.

 

Ta da! You are welcome. The road was and is fine. Been that way for 50 years. How about $130,000,000 for a bridge that they have not even decided on a design for. Here's the spending details. You do the math on how many passes that "critical" $130 million they have already spent would get.

HEY IT'S ONLY MONEY, GET MORE FROM THE TAXPAYERS LINK

 

OK, full text of the story:

 

"Nancy Boyd isn't seeing red. After reviewing the $130 million that has already disappeared down the rat hole, the Columbia River Crossing's new director notes, "I don't see any red flags on what's been spent."

 

Seriously?

 

Because the CRC could not find a qualified "traffic consultant" in the Portland metro area, the empire builders hired David Parisi of Mill Valley, Calif., and paid $19,200 to help cover rent on his Pearl District apartment. Parisi's consulting company -- which doesn't have a working website -- has billed CRC more than $1.4 million.

 

No red flag?

 

More

The Oregonian’s continuing coverage of the Columbia River Crossing and the money behind it.

Shortly after EnviroIssues hired communications director Linda Mullen away from the Washington State Department of Transportation in 2006, EnviroIssues was graced with a PR contract for the bridge project. The firm's billings for this public-relations disaster now top $5 million.

 

No apologies?

 

At the behest of the Oregon Department of Transportation, the CRC hired Tom Markgraf, a former aide for Rep. Earl Blumenauer, and paid him more than $1 million to chaperone public hearings and schmooze the body politic over four years. Eventually, lo and behold, Markgraf's son, Peter, was also drawing a CRC paycheck.

 

C'mon, Ms. Boyd: Not even the hint of a blush?

 

In The Sunday Oregonian, reporter Jeff Manning laid out, with his usual clarity, the fatuous finances of the CRC, a $3.6 billion train wreck whose promoters appear oblivious to the recession, regrets or reality checks.

 

The current balance sheet is telling. When Govs. Ted Kulongoski and Chris Gregoire gave their DOTs a blank check, abdicating further leadership or restraint, the CRC evolved into a chummy fraternity of transit groupies.

 

No one had incentive to save money. As is so often the case with ODOT, no one is accountable, much less disciplined, for runaway costs.

 

And no one at CRC is sheepish about any of this. Heck, they all insist they're doing God's work.

 

For what it's worth, I'm a huge fan of infrastructure. I believe future generations in Portland will be especially thankful for every mile of track that was set down when federal transit funds were still available, and that includes the ongoing $1.5 light-rail expansion to Milwaukie.

 

But the Columbia River Crossing, as conceived, is built on fatally flawed assumptions about traffic patterns, congestion relief (the gridlock at the Rose Quarter will only grow worse) and available funding.

 

And the run-up to construction has been marked by the arrogance and greed of engineers, consultants and urban planners who want us to believe they're doing us a favor as they enrich themselves and their liberal (in this case, at least) friends.

 

Boyd told Manning she considers the $130 million spent to date "reasonable" because the tab is less than four percent of the $3.6 billion price tag.

 

That she still believes a $3.6 billion project is possible is a troubling sign.

 

That Boyd has finally requested an internal audit is more encouraging. But after six years of disdainful, irresponsible spending, we don't need a CPA to tell us that the public's reservoir of trust in this project, and the voters' confidence in its boosters, have been utterly depleted. "

 

"Hey, lets get some $30 parking passes started cause we don't have nay money and it will make people sympathetic to our lack of money plight". HUH?

 

They're going to spend 3.6 BILLION for a bridge that everyone is doing fine without and that is way overpriced. Minnesota just put up a bigger one for less money. Do the math on that: divide $30 (for a pass) int the billion...how many passes will they have to sell to build this bridge? Wrong, they have to sell 10 times more that any number you guessed, because the passes profit will all be spent on building up a new bureaucratic infrastructure to collect the $30 fees. If they make money at all it will be miniscule. Stupid. At Smith Rock, there is limited parking and it's always full, they charge, it's an annoyance. However, the sting dissipates as they actually make money, a lot of it. Yet Oregon should be bumping the income tax which would be fairer in may respects.

 

OK, I did the math and they need to sell 120,000,000 passes to pay fro the bridge, but to only sell that many they need to not have any costs associated with the sale of the passes. OK, lets see, how many people live in "Washington? Hmmm, how many will buy the pass? Hmmmm - it's going to take a while to pay off this billion dollar bill isn't it. What was your question again? yeah....you suggested that I do not think that they spend our money wisely. That is true, I see examples all the time. BUT, the question remains, are they really spending less overall these days and really need the money? If they are, say so. You think that they need to find a revenue source. Many think they should find places to cut.

 

I can't answer that one yet until I see your chart.

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KK: did you vote for taxes in the last election? You remember: the one where income taxes and candy taxes were at issue?

 

Yes, I realize that we all pay taxes. The plain fact is that we also all know that State revenues are way down due to the economic slump. And costs of operation are going up. We can argue (in Jay's spray thread) whether public benefits or public employee's unions are the "problem." But the State budget is being cut - as regards all departments from law enforcement to public assistance, public employee compensation, and, yes, public lands. These cuts are hitting everybody.

 

How SHOULD the State pay for your hobby?

 

My "hobby"? What a crock of BS!

 

My real estate taxes pay for city parks, and they are nice. They don't get user fees, they don't get closed/limited access/whatever. Likewise my taxes to the state of WA should pay for state parks - no cuts and fees, etc. Period.

 

Hey, let's start taxing use of Green Lake! $5 to park within 5 blocks of the park. How well would that go over, Matt?

 

 

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Matt, when I drive out to the area where the $30 fee is, I see a Washington Dept of transportation project to straighten the road in a few spots that they are paying close to 10 million bucks for, that by all accounts doesn't appear to be necessary. That's 33,000 plus passes, with no extra fees and costs to administer them. Total money maker, just cease the bullshit project. So don't straighten out SR 14, and fund the parks.

 

Ta da! You are welcome. The road was and is fine. Been that way for 50 years.

 

Who is funding all those retarded roundabouts where they are not needed?

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How SHOULD the State pay for your hobby?

 

Eliminate free tuition for WA State employees at all four year colleges/universities. They should pay their own way--just like everyone else.

 

Eliminate the Running Start program.

 

Eliminate the GET program--immediately.

 

 

 

 

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Hey, let's start taxing use of Green Lake! $5 to park within 5 blocks of the park. How well would that go over, Matt?

 

 

Let's all hope McGinn isn't reading this...

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How SHOULD the State pay for your hobby?

 

Eliminate free tuition for WA State employees at all four year colleges/universities. They should pay their own way--just like everyone else.

 

Eliminate the Running Start program.

 

Eliminate the GET program--immediately.

 

 

 

 

There you go! Interesting what gets cut first (things the state should be paying for - a legitimate role of gov't is to manage public lands) and what never gets cut (perks for themselves).

 

 

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How SHOULD the State pay for your hobby?

 

License and tax bicycles that choose to use our public streets.

 

Cyclists already pay taxes to use the streets - as homeowners or auto-drivers.

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Some of your questions can be answered at http://discoverpass.wa.gov/faq/

 

All revenues from the pass will go towards upkeep at state parks, DNR, and WDFW.

 

And if you want to know how taxes have grown over the last 15 years, check out this graph: http://budgetandpolicy.org/images/copy_of_102010_budget_sharePI.png

 

Spending per person isn't a good way to look at government growth because per capita income has obviously exploded over the last 50 years. Of course government has grown over the last 50 years as well. It didn't take a college education to succeed 50 years ago. Life-saving (and expensive) health care procedures weren't available 50 years ago. And we probably didn't have paved roads and composting toilets on our public lands. Things are just more expensive.

 

I know the Mounties aren't favorites on this board, but you actually should thank them for helping to keep state parks open at all. (http://mntrs.blogspot.com/2011_05_01_archive.html) Without the pass, state lands would be closed. Parks and public lands aren't the highest priority when the legislature is trying to also pay for prisons, courts, schools, public health, health care for people with disabilities....

 

Paying taxes and user fees aren't my favorite things to do, but there's a price on everything and I'd rather be able to enjoy public lands than see a closed sign out there.

 

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How SHOULD the State pay for your hobby?

 

Eliminate the Running Start program.

 

Seriously? How does this seem like a good idea?

 

Yeah cut programs that help educate our youth.

Edited by kevino

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jfree,

 

Cogent, concise, yet comprehensive...

 

Oh yeah, and, quite correct.

 

Great post.

 

d

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Paying taxes and user fees aren't my favorite things to do, but there's a price on everything and I'd rather be able to enjoy public lands than see a closed sign out there.

 

Well it looks like the fat, rich, assholes figured out another way to dip their collective hand into the pockets of the poor. AGAIN. I absolutely cannot believe that people on this board are actually defending this pass.

 

Lets make everything so expensive that only rich people can afford to enjoy our PUBLIC lands! Poor people are stupid anyway...that's why they're poor. They shouldn't be out playing, they should be at work or in school getting that college education and racking up student loans, in this here land of unlimited opportunity, that won't be paid off until they're retired. "Things are just more expensive." Just the way it is huh?

 

If we can't afford pit toilets and garbage cans at the parking lots then I say take em' away and stop maintaining the trails. It's not the goobermints job to make the forest accessible for anyone and it's not their job to keep me from enjoying it anytime I want to walk, hike, or bike my sorry ass out there. Don't want to maintain a parking lot? Fine...but you can't put a closed sign on the whole outdoors and the fact that you even insinuate that they can means they have all ready won.

 

Looks like I won't be climbing or hiking in WA anytime soon. I'm done with these bullshit fees that keep going up and up to pay for (non-existent) services that no one needs and few want. How long before WA can no longer afford the enforcement of this policy and they turn to private organizations to "help" them out with the policing of this new policy? Ya know...sorta like how private organizations from out of state are now managing and making huge profits off of campgrounds that sit on public lands and have always been free for the public to use.

 

 

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I was just in Oregon last weekend, seems like they charge a day use fee for state parks, unless you have some sort of pass...

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I was just in Oregon last weekend, seems like they charge a day use fee for state parks, unless you have some sort of pass...

 

They sure do. Along with NW forest passes, snow park permits, camping fees, extra vehicle fees, administration fees from the concessionaires etc. etc. Didn't mean to imply that WA was alone in it's fleecing of the public but just that I won't be paying this latest fee to enjoy WA's public lands. Hell, I can barely afford to pay the fees to play outdoors in OR let alone pay an extra $30 if I want to climb in WA.

 

It used to be the case that camping and enjoying the outdoors was something cheap and simple that most anyone could afford. No longer seems to be the case anywhere.

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Collective bargaining = extortion (oh yes, only for public employee unions!) lol

 

Fee for services = fleecing of the public...

 

Uninformed generalizations/hyperbolic declarations = useless drivel.

 

JMHO mind you.

 

d

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