SACRAMENTO (May 31, 2012) – Earlier today, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation voted to steal up to $31 million dollars from the California Off-Highway Vehicle Trust Fund and transfer it to non-OHV related programs. This pilfering of user-pay funding is part of the “Sustainable Parks Proposal” being championed by the California Parks Foundation, other anti-OHV organizations, and California State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto).
Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D- Petaluma) argued strongly in favor of the plan which he knows will directly impact destination OHV areas throughout the state including nearby units on the Mendocino and Six Rivers National Forests, the BLM Cow Mountain Recreation near Ukiah, and the BLM Samoa Dunes Recreation Area near Eureka. Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) was the lone voice on the committee that opposed the continued theft of trust funds monies.
Don Amador, Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, states, “I am extremely disappointed that Mr. Huffman has apparently joined ranks with the anti-OHV community in their ongoing efforts to defund the OHV grants program via fiscal schemes such as the Sustainable Parks plan.”
“After witnessing today’s vote, it is clear to me that urban legislators have made the conscious decision to engage in political warfare against rural interests, economies, and local elected officials. It also daylights the false promises made to special “user fee” programs (e.g. OHV, boating and waterways, special license plates, etc.) that their dedicated funds are protected. Rather, it points to the fact that those funds will be raided in perpetuity to help mitigate the legislature’s failure to substantively address the state’s fiscal crisis,” Amador continues.
“It is also interesting to note that not one of the Sustainable Parks Program’s proponents had the courage to show up and speak in favor of the plan at today’s hearing. Equally disappointing was that State Park leadership sat in stone cold silence while this issue was being discussed. It is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in California,” Amador concludes.
Representatives from the following organizations attended and spoke at the hearing. Those groups include the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, American Motorcyclist Association, American Motorcyclist Association District 36, California Off-Road Vehicle Association, and the BlueRibbon Coalition.
# # #
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BLUERIB – http://www.sharetrails.org.