To all California OHV users and stakeholders in regards to YOUR dedicated funds:
Part of the Governor’s latest budget proposal is a $90M loan from the OHV Trust Fund to help balance the state budget! Although we understand that the state is in the grip of the worst budget crisis in history, this loan is not a solution to the problem! Why? The law requires that this loan must be repaid within 2 years, so all this does is delay a real solution to the budget problem. Similar tactics have been tried in the past. In recent years the state budget was often balanced by borrowing billions from constitutionally protected trust funds reserved for highway construction and repair of local streets and roads. Local governments united to oppose this borrowing gimmick and the governor and legislature agreed to stay away from borrowing from local government trust funds this year. Unfortunately this commitment does not extend to our OHV Trust Fund. The governor is proposing an urgency bill that would authorize this loan. This money is our green sticker money that comes directly from the increased cost of green stickers from $25 to $50. This funding was supposed to go to law enforcement and other essential public safety services as well as improving our program. The public agreed to this fee increase to better fund the program, not to bail out the state budget.
What can you do?
It is urgent that all OHV users get in touch with their state legislators as soon as possible.
• Write or Fax a letter to YOUR state senator and state assembly member.
• Draining the Green Sticker funds will eliminate environmental projects that would reduce erosion on public lands, maintain recreation opportunities while preserving critical habitat and protecting endangered species. Those projects need to be done now, they cannot wait until those funds are paid back years from now if ever.
• Tell them to stop borrowing to balance the budget.
• Tell them the OHV Trust Fund should not be used to balance the budget.
• Loans like this are just gimmicks and not a solution to the real problem.
• We were willing to raise our fees to be able to keep our program operating, we should not become the scapegoats in this budget battle.
• During the last election, many legislators signed a promise that they would not use borrowing to balance the budget.
• Ask your legislators if they signed a “no borrowing pledge”, and ask them if they are going to stand by that promise.
Specific points to make are:
1. Members of the public agreed to a fee increase to support a specific program, but now the revenue generated is being diverted from its intended purpose – a breach of public trust.
2. Borrowing from state funds that must be repaid does not solve the budget problem, it only defers dealing with the problem to a later date when it will be even more difficult to solve.
3. Using a trust fund as a revenue source sets a bad precedent. Trust funds are established to protect public funds for specific purposes. This could lead to diversion of funds from other trust funds in the future potentially including even entitlement funds.
4. The budget crisis must be resolved through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, not more borrowing.
5. Draining the Green Sticker funds will eliminate environmental projects that would reduce erosion on public lands, maintain recreation opportunities while preserving critical habitat and protecting endangered species. Those projects need to be done now, they cannot wait until those funds are paid back years from now if ever.
FAX or email your letter today!!!
To comment to the governor: https://gov.ca.gov/interact
Comment your representatives go here:
(Enter your home address and then start making calls to your representatives)
Important Officials to contact beside your local California Senator & Assemblymember are:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Phone: 916-445-2841
Sen. Dave Cogdill, Senate Republican Leader Phone: (916) 651-4014
Asm. Mike Villines, Assembly Republican Leader Phone: (916) 319-2029 Sen.
Darrell Steinberg, President Pro Tem Phone: (916) 651-4006
Asm. Karen Bass, Assembly Majority Leader Phone: (323) 937-4747 It is imperative you do this ASAP