Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Is $10 State Park Vehicle Pass Off Track?

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from Nancy Krupiarz, Executive Director, Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance

Dr. Chuck Nelson, Professor at MSU Department of Community Agriculture and Recreation Resources, and the leader of the committee behind the State Park Passport to Recreation bill sent us a message today about the latest activity on the State Park Passport legislation. Just like a terribly misleading election campaign ad, our own Department of State has decided to take a poll that is required before every Michigan citizen goes through the online vehicle registration process. As you will see below, the wording is FLAWED and does not clearly show that the $10 option fee is REPLACING the current $24 annual resident motor vehicle permit. No input was asked for by the Secretary of State regarding this poll and we are concerned it will be used to harm Michigan residents and state parks if the results suit the SOS’s interests.

The wording on the poll simply states: “Would you pay an additional $10 on top of your annual vehicle registration fee to allow you to enter Michigan state parks?”

We believe the language should be changed to more clearly define the proposal in order to get a fully informed response from the public. Dr. Nelson has suggested the following change, “The legislature is considering a proposal to reform the way residents pay for MI state park admission. Instead of paying the current $24 annual fee for a resident motor vehicle permit available only at state parks, would you support instead paying an optional $10 fee in addition to your annual vehicle registration renewal fee during vehicle registration renewal, eliminating the $24 motor vehicle permit for residents, a 60% savings over the current resident motor vehicle permit to enter state parks. Under the proposal, non-residents would continue to be required to purchase a $29 non-resident annual motor vehicle permit. Do you support the reform proposal? Yes or No”

Ballot proposal questions are carefully worded to be as accurate and complete as possible so that voters have an unbiased foundation from which to make up their mind. The Secretary of State is asking the public to weigh in before they pay their annual reg. fee. The wording and the timing of the question are unbiased in our opinion.

See State Park Passport Held Up in House
See Michigan Legislature plug in bill 388 and 389
See New State Park Funding on Brink of Passage
Contact Nancy Krupiarz
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