Kansas legislation would make a better way to fund state parks & trails

Ken Miner, Kansas State Representative of the International Mountain Bicycling Association sent this message:
On Tuesday, January 25, the Kansas Senate introduced Senate Bill 87 that would provide for a different (and better) way to fund state parks. Montana has successfully used a similar funding system.

SB 87 provides that state parks would be funded through a $5 "outdoor registration fee" levied with the purchase of a vehicle tag. $4 of the $5 fee would be used for park operations and $1 would be used for the outdoor grant program which has not been funded in recent years. The grant program would be a potential funding source for trail projects. State park access would be "free" because the $5 tag fee would replace the $35.50 state park passes we now buy. Out-of-state park users would continue to pay fees for access to the state parks.

Some might argue that this is just another tax to pay and it is paid by all vehicle owners even if they do not use the state parks. The bill addresses these two issues squarely. First, the $5 fee would replace the current general budget funding. It is not a new tax, it replaces tax dollars from the general fund. Second, if a taxpayer does not use the state parks or just disagrees with the idea, they can request a refund of the $5 fee.

We believe this is a better way to fully fund the state park system which has in recent years struggled for adequate funding. If you agree, we hope you will contact your Senator and Representative. The bill was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee whose members include: Umbarger, Emler, McGinn, Morris, V. Schmidt, Schodorf, Taddiken, Teichman, Wysong, Barone, Betts, Kelly and Steineger.

You can download a pdf of SB 87 here.

To identify your Senator you may log onto the Legislature's website.

SB 87 progress can be tracked here.

Letters, email and phone calls are all useful means of contacting your legislative representatives.

Thanks for your support of Kansas trails! Please feel free to forward this email on to other Kansas outdoor enthusiasts or lists.