April 5, 2006

NC Policy Watch : » Taking a toll on public institutions

Instresting post in the Fitzsimmons File at NC Policy Watch on the policy implications of toll roads in NC. With the ever increasing hunt for government revenue and the drive to cut taxes user fees make a lot of sense. But there is down side.
"But there’s a bigger issue at play in the toll roads debate that has received little attention, one that may affect public universities, museums, and other functions of state government in a fundamental way, pushing the state further toward employing user fees to pay for services."
I think the argument that tolls to build bridges and roads will lead direnctly to the loss of public institutions is a bit of a push, but I also think Fitzsimmons is right that as a community we need to work together to fund the elements that make our community great, not just the few public services we all share.
A good example is beach access. Every year someone asks about funding beach access parking by setting up meters or charging for a parking pass. I believe this is wrong. The beach belongs to the public and they/we have a right to access. It should be the communities role to provide that access whether an individual tax payer ever goes to the beach or not.
Another example is NC State Parks. There is not an admission fee at any state park. This is great. It insures that everyone can use the resource and not be turned away. Our community, our state is richer for preserving areas like Jockeys Ridge or Run Hill and even better off when they are used by the public. We can afford them. We must afford them.

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