CA Prop. 21 Struck Down by Voters

Voters in the Golden State decisively struck down Prop. 21 yesterday by a 58-42 margin. Prop. 21 would have raised the vehicle registration fees by $18 per vehicle to fund state parks. To learn more about the ballot measure refer to Reason Foundation’s coverage of Prop. 21 in the weeks leading up to the election here and here, and Reason TV’s recent piece here.

Prop. 21’s defeat does not come as a surprise – despite threats of withholding toilet paper from parks visitors. It seems like just yesterday Arnold Schwarzenegger rode into power pledging to cut the fees imposed on drivers.

California parks advocates and taxpayers alike should celebrate this outcome. California’s delinquent stewardship has led to over $1 billion in deferred maintenance across the state parks system. Moving forward, policymakers need to pursue a sustainable solution by embracing a combination of user fees and public-private partnerships (PPPs).

Reason is leading the national conversation on this issue; my colleague Adam Summers explored user fees in a 2005 study here, and my colleague Len Gilroy has written extensively about PPPs in parks here, here and here.

Harris Kenny is a state and local government policy analyst at Reason Foundation, a non-profit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Harris has worked alongside policymakers in Colorado, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Oregon and elsewhere to implement public policy solutions. Harris is currently serving as a member of the Local Authority Working Group of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper's Amendment 64 Task Force, which is providing guidance on implementing recreational marijuana legalization. He conducts research on public finance, public-private partnerships, privatization, public safety, criminal justice and regulatory policy issues.

Harris has appeared on various television and radio outlets, such as National Public Radio, HuffPost Live, Al Jazeera, Voice of Russia and Colorado Public Television. His writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Denver Post, The Sacramento Bee, The Orange County Register, Real Clear Markets,, and other print and online outlets. He also serves as co-editor of Reason Foundation's Annual Privatization Report ( and Innovators in Action ( publications.

Prior to joining Reason Foundation, Harris worked at the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. He earned a BA in Economics from Pepperdine University, where he worked as a research assistant to Dr. Luisa Blanco at Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy.

twitter-bird-blue-on-white_small Follow Harris Kenny on Twitter @harriskenny