Friday, March 4, 2011
CA OHV Program Takes $10 Million Dollar Hit - The Fight Continues
The Recreation HQ wants to thank all of you who sent in letters, made phone calls, and attended meetings. As you know, there was an effort to gut the entire CA OHV Program. That reality could have closed SVRAs, shut down the Division, and ended the grants program.
Over the last 3 weeks, you let your legislators know that you did not want them to steal money from one of the very few successful user-pay/user-benefit programs in the state. You also asked them to put the “Trust” back in the OHV Trust Fund.
Based on the vote yesterday by the Budget Conference Committee... that group appears to have heard your voice. As some of you know, they voted to “shift” $10 million dollars out of the OHV Trust Fund ($5 million from the grants program and $5 million from the Division/Support program). We will have to see if "shift" means a loan or a take.
Based on the fact that we were looking at a complete annihilation of the OHV program, HQ feels this is somewhat of a victory. However, we need to be careful about calling it a victory because the war against the OHV program is far from over. We have yet to see if the Governor will actually sweep out $21 million dollars from the OHV reserve fund.
Also, other attacks against the program could occur between now and when the Governor signs this budget later this spring. I think it is interesting that we have not seen the “list” of proposed state park units that will be closed. My feeling is that state parks was waiting to see how much they could steal from us before posting that soon to be infamous list of park closures.
As it stands right now according to my best analysis… here is what the OHV program looks like for the 2010-2011 budget (remember the Gov. and legislature will have to fight over the 2011-2012 budget in a few months).
$27 million for the Division/Support Budget/SVRAs
$22 million for the Grants Program
HQ urges you to stand ready for the next fight. The ongoing battle to protect our OHV program will be of historic proportions this year. Your continued support and activism will be important.