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  #1  
Old 05-06-2009, 04:00 PM
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Ceg_ Ceg_ is offline
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Default State Parks Saved!

http://www.wta.org/trail-news/news/state-parks-saved
State Parks Saved!


Thanks to the work of every WTA member who called or visited their legislator, Washington's State Parks are safe from closure.


Washington State Parks, and the hikers and families who enjoy them, won a hard-fought victory this week. The state legislature adjourned on Monday, sending a budget to Governor Christine Gregoire that keeps Washington State Parks open.

"The gates of Washington State Parks will remain open this summer," said Jonathan Guzzo, Advocacy Director for Washington Trails Association. "When hikers heard about the budget cuts and closures, they spoke up for the places they recreate in. We're pleased that the legislature listened to their constituents and realized that these Parks are an important part of our communities, particularly during an economic downturn."

"From hiking to picnicking to camping, Washington's State Parks are where many kids and families get their introduction to the outdoors. People need places to go with their families, and communities close to these parks need the funds that are generated by people visiting these Parks and enjoying the outdoors," he added.

  • "The gates of Washington State Parks will remain open this summer."-- Jonathan Guzzo, Advocacy Director for Washington Trails Association

The halt to the threatened closures of Parks assumes some new revenues included in the budget materialize. Among those revenues is a $5.00 fee attached to motor vehicle tab renewals, with the possibility of opting out at renewal. The legislature has projected that tab fee revenue will provide roughly $23 million to State Parks annually. The legislature also transferred $19 million from the Non-Highway and Off-Road Vehicle Activities (NOVA) and Boating Facilities Programs to keep Parks from closing.

This is a dramatic turnaround from the earlier assumption that up to 40 State Parks would be mothballed in response to the Governor’s proposed cut of $23 million from State Parks’ budget.

Washington Trails Association (WTA) closely tracked the State Parks budget news as it developed, and worked hard to make sure that the legislature supported a solution to keep Parks open. WTA supported the passage of HB 2339 and worked to ensure that any transfer of NOVA money be spent keeping Parks open rather than being shunted to non-recreation programs.

The 2009-11 budget has been sent to the Governor and we anticipate that she’ll sign it without vetoing critical sections.

Of course, we didn’t get to this great victory alone. We worked hand-in-hand with a number of other organizations to make this happen. And key legislators stepped up to help. Senators Karen Fraser, Rodney Tom, Margarita Prentice and Eric Oemig all showed strong leadership on the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Representatives Kelly Linville and Hans Dunshee, Chairs of the House Ways and Means and Capital Budget Committees respectively, stepped up to keep Parks from closing.

Most importantly, every WTA member who called or visited their legislator, every hiker who took the time to write a quick letter or hotline call, and everyone who attended WTA’s Annual Hiker Lobby Day was instrumental in making this victory a reality.

During a session in which legislators faced a $9 billion budget deficit, your support made it possible for us to keep State Parks open this year. Thank you.
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:00 PM
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The legislature also transferred $19 million from the Non-Highway and Off-Road Vehicle Activities (NOVA) and Boating Facilities Programs to keep Parks from closing.
What BS!
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:39 AM
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Nice how they use what we do for recreation "after" we pay our taxes against us.
It's sad and wrong.
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  #4  
Old 05-08-2009, 01:47 PM
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*(&($%(&^)_+_*%$$ need I say more. With all the letters those SOB's got from us they still broke the law and transferred our funds. Is there any way to reverse this? Since my understanding it is unconstitutional.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:17 PM
EagleMark EagleMark is offline
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I'm not even from Washington and I'm PISSED!!!

They can NOT get away with this!
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  #6  
Old 05-10-2009, 03:42 PM
paulp575 paulp575 is offline
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Exclamation Re: State Parks Saved!

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Originally Posted by Duck Dodgers View Post
*(&($%(&^)_+_*%$$ need I say more. With all the letters those SOB's got from us they still broke the law and transferred our funds. Is there any way to reverse this? Since my understanding it is unconstitutional.
Yes, it is unconstitutional! And this has happened once before and the state legislature was sued and lost and had to repay it back so there is precedence.

Currently the WOHVA ( http://www.wohva.org ) Board of Directors is taking a look to see if they can find the funds to start a lawsuit. And since courts do look favorable on precedence, there just might be some hope.

In spite of this, the State Parks may not be saved!
In doing this mess, the state legislature created an "opt-in" check-off wherein state residents may check a box on their next vehicle registration forms to opt-out of the $5 charge that will go to the state parks. If you do not check the box, your fees will be increased by $5 - so it's yet to be seen if this tactic will backfire or not.
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  #7  
Old 05-11-2009, 10:44 AM
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Here's what I get from my inquiries on this matter:


From: Jones, Steve
Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 10:35 AM
To: Wills, Mike; May, Jeri
Cc: Delvin, Sen. Jerome; Hovde, Maria
Subject: NOVA Account information



This e-mail is in response to your inquiry regarding the Legislature’s action in the 2009-2011 Operating Budget to appropriate moneys from the Nonhighway and Off-Road Vehicle Activities Program Account (known as the NOVA Account, fund number 268). These moneys were appropriated to the State Parks and Recreation Commission for the purposes of operating and maintaining state parks, and improving access for boaters and off-road vehicles.



The use of this money, and the manner in which the appropriation was made, is consistent with all state law and the state Constitution. There is no constitutional violation.



To permit this appropriation, the Legislature amended the statute governing the NOVA Account, RCW 46.09.170. This amendment appears in section 944 of Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1244 (the 2009-2011 Operating Budget). The relevant portion of this section reads as follows (new language is underlined):



(4) During the ((2007-09)) 2009-2011 fiscal biennium, the legislature may appropriate such amounts as reflect the excess fund balance in the NOVA account to the department of natural resources ((for planning and designing)) to install consistent off-road vehicle signage at department-managed recreation sites, and ((for planning)) to implement the recreation opportunities on department-managed lands in the Reiter block and Ahtanum state forest, and to the state parks and recreation commission for maintenance and operation of parks and to improve accessibility for boaters and off-road vehicle users.



The appropriation to the State Parks and Recreation Commission appears in section 303 of the same bill, which can be found at:

http://wsldocs/2009-10/Pdf/Bills/Hou.../1244-S.PL.pdf



The constitutional authority of the Legislature to use the state Operating budget to make amendments to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), where the amendment relates to state fiscal issues, has been upheld by the state Supreme Court in the 2003 case Retired Public Employees Council of Wash. v. Charles, 148 Wn.2d 602.



I hope this information is responsive to your inquiry. Please let me know if you need any additional information.





Steve Jones, Senior Fiscal Counsel
Senate Ways & Means Committee
300 Cherberg Building
Olympia WA 98504-0483
(360) 786-7440
jones_st@leg.wa.gov
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  #8  
Old 05-11-2009, 10:51 AM
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"Steve Jones, Senior Fiscal Counsel
Senate Ways & Means Committee "

So let me see if I have got this straight.... the head lawyer in charge of legalities when it comes to money for the State says it's OKAY?? Mmm Hmm

Isn't like a cop telling you it is ok for him to give you a bad ticket?
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  #9  
Old 05-11-2009, 10:53 AM
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Interesting, It makes it sound like they didnt steal anything just allowed some of the money to be used for state parks to make them more ORV accesanble.


Hmmm, I called the state dept of revenue this morning and told them I was using their money to give more to the unemployment dept since they seem to have a more urgent need. I wonder how far that will go
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2009, 11:01 AM
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...Wait, you don't think the guy would give a fair and unbiased opinion? How biased of you
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