Vehicle owners' fees could pay for parks in Kansas

| Monday, April 25, 2005

If you own a vehicle and live in Kansas, you may soon pay for entry into the state’s park system, regardless whether you visit a park.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has proposed a mandatory $4 a year charge for every car and truck registered in the state, to be used to fund the state’s 24-park system. The bill, SB 87, does not apply to commercial vehicles.

According to the Wichita Eagle, the added fee could raise $8.8 million a year, which would double the amount of money currently collected from park entry fees. The department told the Eagle that the state’s parks are dilapidated and in desperate need of revitalization.

Opponents of the bill, however, say the added fee is just a disguised tax that unfairly affects all of the state’s residents even if they don’t use the parks, the Eagle said.

The bill could be debated as early as next week when the Senate reconvenes to discuss budget issues; however, Sheila Kemmis, Senior Administrative Specialist and Commission Secretary for the KDWP said the proposal may not come up for a vote until next year.

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