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Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Help Fund State Parks and Wildlife Programs. Grants Surcharged Vehicles Free Admission to All State Parks
State of California
Initiative Statute - Majority Approval Required
Fail: 4,181,226 / 42.7% Yes votes ...... 5,605,610 / 57.3% No votes
Index of all Propositions
|Results as of Nov 30 4:33pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (24845/24845)
|Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |
Should the state levy an additional annual $18 vehicle license surcharge to provide funds to operate and maintain California's state parks and wildlife protection programs?
The State Park System and State Wildlife Conservation Agencies. California has 278 state parks, of which 246 are operated and maintained by the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and 32 by local entities. Other state departments, such as the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and various state conservancies, own and maintain other lands for wildlife conservation purposes. The State Wildlife Conservation Board acquires property and provides grants for property acquisition to state and local entities for wildlife conservation purposes. The Ocean Protection Council is a state agency responsible for coordinating state activities to protect ocean resources.
Funding for State Parks and Wildlife Conservation. Over the last five years, state funding for the operation of state parks has been around $300 million annually. Of this amount, about $150 million has come from the General Fund, with the balance coming largely from park user fees (such as admission, camping, and other use fees) and state gasoline tax revenues. The development of new state parks and capital improvements to existing parks are largely funded from bond funds that have been approved in the past by voters. There is a significant backlog of maintenance projects in state parks, which have no dedicated annual funding source. The DPR also administers grant programs for local parks, funded largely through bond funds.
Wildlife conservation programs in various other state departments, such as DFG, are funded through a combination of the General Fund, regulatory fees, and bond funds. State funding for wildlife conservation program operations is around $100 million per year. Bond funds are the primary funding source for land acquisitions and other capital projects for wildlife conservation purposes.
Annual Vehicle Registration Fees. The state collects a number of charges annually when a person registers a vehicle. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) collects these revenues on behalf of the state.
Imposition of an $18 Surcharge on Vehicle Registrations. This measure places an $18 annual surcharge on all vehicles registered on or after January 1, 2011, except for commercial vehicles, trailers, and trailer coaches. The surcharge would be collected when annual vehicle registration fees are paid. These surcharge revenues would be deposited into the newly created State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund. The measure expressly prohibits these funds from being used for purposes other than state parks and wildlife conservation.
Free Day-Use Entry to All State Parks for Surcharge Payers. Typically, most state parks charge a vehicle day-use fee that covers entry into the park and parking. Currently, this single fee is in the range of $5 to $15 per day depending on the park and the time of year. Under this measure, all California vehicles subject to the surcharge would have free vehicle admission, parking, and day-use at all units of the state parks system, including state parks currently operated by local entities, as well as to other specified state lands and wildlife areas. State parks would still be able to charge fees for camping, tours, and other activities.
Allocation of Funds. This measure allows up to 1 percent of the revenues deposited into the trust fund to be used for certain administrative and oversight activities, discussed further below. The remaining funds in the trust fund would be allocated each year, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to various park and wildlife conservation-related programmatic purposes. As shown in Figure 1, these surcharge revenues would be allocated as follows:
Administration and Oversight. As discussed above, this measure allows for up to 1 percent of annual revenues to be used for collection, administration, auditing, and oversight of the trust fund. The DMV would collect the surcharge and would deposit it into the trust fund. The measure requires the State Auditor to conduct annual audits of expenditures from the fund to be reported to the Legislature and made publicly available. It also directs the Secretary for Natural Resources to establish a Citizens Oversight Committee that would review the audits and issue reports on how the measure is being implemented and its effectiveness in protecting state parks and natural resources.
What is Prop 21?
Secretary of State
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Secretary of State
Websites of Proponents and Opponents