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.