Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sneakers And Hardwood Over Fresh Air

In Scott Walker's Wisconsin, public dollars should be spent on a basketball arena, but state parks aren't as deserving.

State parks, which enhance communities throughout the state and can be enjoyed by all, have had it too easy. Park-users need to pay higher fees.

As the Wisconsin State Journal notes:
As part of his 2015-17 state budget, Walker is proposing to remove all general-purpose revenue to operate Wisconsin state parks, trails and recreation areas — a cut of $4.6 million, or nearly 28 percent, of their current $16.7 million operational budget, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Here's some history on Wisconsin state parks:
The state park system in Wisconsin includes both state parks and state recreation areas. Wisconsin currently has 66 state park units, covering more than 60,570 acres (245.1 km2) in state parks and state recreation areas. Each unit was created by an act of the Wisconsin Legislature and is maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation. The Division of Forestry manages a further 471,329 acres (1,907.40 km2) in Wisconsin's state forests...

Wisconsin became the first state to have a state park in 1878 when it formed "The State Park". The park consisted of 760 square miles (2,000 km2) in northern Wisconsin (most of Vilas County). The state owned 50,631 acres (205 km2), which was less than 10% of the total area.
Yet another Wisconsin tradition Scott Walker is dismantling.

Why can't we just increase the price of basketball tickets to pay for the new arena? Following the  increased park-user-fee logic, let the basketball game attendees pay for the arena.

Walker has proposed bonding over $200 million for a new basketball arena, but $17 million for our state park budget is too much?

State tourism spending is increasing. People are increasingly visiting to see Wisconsin's beautiful coasts, forests and lakes. The park system is an integral part of Wisconsin's allure. Cutting funding makes absolutely no sense.

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