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Keep the Passport to the Parks in the Budget

Gillette Castle State Park
Connecticut continues to operate without a state budget, and the future of your State Parks and Forests remains at risk.
 
As you know, State Parks have been underfunded for years, largely because of their dependence upon support from the state’s General Fund (which seems to get cut every year). The need for adequate, sustainable funding for your State Parks is well documented.
 
The Passport to the Parks – funded by a DMV vehicle registration charge paid every two years – was included in the Governor’s budget compromise offered on Friday (9/8), and for that we are grateful.
 
Your action TODAY or TOMORROW will help determine whether the Passport to the Parks proposal will be improved to achieve adequate, sustainable funding for the Parks.
 
See below for ways to improve the Passport to the Parks proposal (details are included in the note at the bottom that we hope you will email in your own words to each of your State Legislators and to the Governor).
 
Thank you again for your active support of your State Parks and of CFPA!
 
p.s. If you think of it, please email a copy of your message to me so I know how many great advocates like you are taking action on this critical issue. Thanks!
 
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Email Subject: Please Support and Improve the Passport to the Parks
 
 
Adequate, sustainable funding for State Parks is critical to avoid more campground closures and cutbacks in basic public services (lifeguards, trash pick-up, enforcement, maintenance, etc.), as well as to ensure that Parks will continue to attract 8-9 million visitors and generate over $1 billion in revenues for Connecticut every year.
 
I strongly support the “Passport to the Parks” that has now been included in budget proposals by Democrats, Republicans, and the Governor. However, there are three ways that we hope you will strengthen the Passport to the Parks in the final budget you adopt:
 
  1. Increase the $6 biennial DMV charge to $10. The revenues generated at the $6 level fall short of the $18 million needed to operate State Parks and campgrounds. At the $10 level, the Passport would still be a bargain for all CT residents who would get into State Parks for free.
  2. Focus the Passport to the Parks funding on Park operations and maintenance. Funding other programs through the Passport is a bad start for a fund whose purpose should be well-defined.
  3. Make the Passport to the Parks a non-lapsing, dedicated fund. That will help to protect the funds from being diverted or swept away from the Parks.
The Passport to the Parks is a great idea whose time has come. Please make sure that the Passport is improved as suggested above when it is adopted in the budget.
 
Good luck in your final budget negotiations, and thank you for your support of the Passport to the Parks!
 
Sincerely,
-Your Name & Town of Residence