Report: State Parks System Needs Taxpayer Help - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Report: State Parks System Needs Taxpayer Help

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EVERETT, WA (AP) - Four years ago, Washington lawmakers set out to make the state parks system self-sufficient - surviving on visitor fees alone. A new report says it's not likely to happen.

The nine-page analysis from the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission to the Legislature makes clear that the parks system can't survive without taxpayer support.

The Legislature slashed the agency's allotment from the state general fund and created the Discover Pass to help make up the difference, but sales of the pass have been lower than expected, forcing lawmakers to give out millions of dollars in litter tax receipts to prevent park closures. Litter taxes are taxes on manufacturers of items that contribute to litter problems, such as cigarettes and soft drinks.

The report says the parks system benefits all state residents, and therefore should be supported at least in part by a reliable public revenue stream, such as from the general fund.