State Eyes ‘Right Mix’ for Parks Funding
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will consider adoption of a transformation strategy intended to provide guidance into the foreseeable future as the agency is financed primarily on use fees, KBKW Radio, Grays Harbor, reported.
The commission will consider the matter on March 21 in Olympia.
The commission will take a break from 2 to 3 p.m., when the proceedings will turn to celebrating the 100th anniversary of the state park system, which was created on March 19, 1913.
The strategy under consideration stems from a fast and dramatic shift in state parks financing in recent years. For decades, Washington state parks have provided recreation and stewardship of natural, cultural and historic resources from a financial base primarily made up of general tax support.
In 2008, when the recession hit and the state was faced with significant revenue shortfalls, the Legislature began to make dramatic decreases in general funding for State Parks. In 2011, the Legislature created the Discover Pass to help replace lost general fund revenues, but Discover Pass fee revenues are not meeting projections.
The commission concluded in 2012 that state parks need a “right mix” of funding that includes use fees and donations as well as continued general tax support, if it is to meet its mission to provide benefit to all citizens.