A very selective focus on park financing

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.

Comments

A very selective focus on park financing — 7 Comments

  1. Well, they don’t want to privatize the permitting program; they don’t have to as special private interests already have control of it through Dept. of Everything is Permitted and of course, the Water Management Destruction Boards that are populated with those seeking permits in one manner or another. And all of these have “purged” the ranks of anyone who may remotely speak up.DACS, the cattlemen’s association and private timber companies as well as hunters (the FCCWC Board is inconsicionably adverse to science, too) want control of the State Parks since the aforementioned are already well in tow. I mean, if Scott and his minions can show the “park system has failed” well, that opens the door for his rich friends for concessions, leases, hunting rights, logging, etc., etc. Obviously, his goal in his remaining 3 1/2 years is to turn Florida into an environmental wasteland by convincing the “no brains” that it is good for the economy! Wow! What a guy!

  2. Since the Legislature is so keen on using Amendment 1 funding for agency operating expenses, perhaps they may spare a dime for the Parks.

  3. This ploy to make the state parks self supporting is a red-herring to justify logging and cattle grazing in state parks. Reducing park service staff and funding will make it impossible to complete resource management needs which opens the door for corporate management of the park resources and eventual privatization of the entire state park system.

  4. How about the highway patrol, they could raise all their money through fines. The DOT could raise all their money through gas taxes, renourishment of the beaches could all be paid for by beach residents and visitors.

  5. One factor that always seems to be left out of the equation when evaluating how much we are spending on our parks vs how much income is coming from our parks is the intrinsic value of our state park lands as flood plains and as a place where our water is detoxified before it recharges the aquifer and becomes a part of our drinking water supply.

    In many cases, state parks return us a huge amount of unquantified value, often in the millions of uncounted dollars by performing the functions of storing water which would otherwise flood out our rivers, creeks, roads, homes and businesses.

    If we were to properly evaluate the services we currently fail to acknowledge, which most often are flood plain water storage and water detoxification of nutrients like nitrates, nitrites and phosphorus, we would not be saying that the parks cost us tax dollars. When compared to the cost of WMD or FDEP projects to clean nutrients from water or federal and local dollars spent on disaster relief after flooding, we would wind that without our state parks and publicly-owned wetlands, we could not afford to purchase enough after-the-fact projects to replace what they do for us.

    It should be a requirement that each property owned by the state be evaluated and their “invisible” services to us quantified and valuated so that the TRUE value of our public land and wetlands is demonstrated. Such a requirement would make it meaningless to speak of privatizing any part of our state parks as doing so would most likely result in the public value of the lands DECREASING rather than increasing from the few dollars we would receive in return for prostitution of our lands for private timber or ranching.

    Don’t get me wrong, we need the timber and ranching industries, but we also need our flood plains and wetlands, where our water can be purified and stored until it is returned to the aquifer.

  6. We fund all kinds of professional sports stadiums with public money even though they are owned by billionaires. State parks provide a multitude of benefits that cannot be quantified but greatly benefit the public.