The Florida Department of Environmental Protection still defends the idea of raising more revenues within the state park system, even though that system already raises more than two-thirds of expenditures (far above the national average). It is obvious that picking on Florida park financing doesn’t make much sense. Particularly since other state water programs are almost entirely funded by general revenue dollars.
For example, both the Environmental Resource Permitting program (run by both FDEP and the water management districts) and the Water Use Permitting Programs (primarily WMDs) raise less than a quarter of their expenses from permit fees. The same low level is true for water quality discharge permitting. For none of those programs, however, is FDEP requesting that general tax contributions be decreased and that the Legislature increase fees on permittees.
The focus should be much broader than park financing. Let’s look at all water-related programs and not just state parks. Until other programs reach the self-funding level of state parks, we know that focusing only on parks is not about how to finance parks but how to single them out for attack.