Remember when the new Connecticut state budget was finally passed last year? We were told by our elected officials we would have to pay an extra $10 on our motor vehicle registration fees, but that the extra dough would be specific to maintaining our state parks. The money was needed, we were reminded, because our parks were falling into disrepair. Some of the money would even be used to reopen closed campgrounds. As a sweetener, vehicles with Connecticut registrations would be admitted to the parks at no charge.
Well, as it turns out, the registration fee hikes are nothing more than another tax and not the dedicated fund as originally hinted at by our elected officials. It’s expected $2.6 million will be raided from the surcharge and poured into the general fund this year and $5 million next year. That doesn’t sound like the program pitched to us by our elected officials, during last year’s budget debate, does it?
The Wednesday, Feb. 7 Republican-American chose to make this the lead story with headlines blaring “Park fees siphoned off.” Although to be fair, the website CT Mirror actually reported on Nov. 3 that there would be a raid on this fund, even before the first fee hikes were collected.
The bottom line is not who had the exclusive to the story, but that once again our politicians are not being direct with the taxpayers. Is it a wonder, they cannot be believed, when they say revenues from tolls will be dedicated to road infrastructure improvements?