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Idaho Recreation Council Say Idaho Department Is Misusing Funds
Boise, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) - The Idaho Recreation Council and the Good Sam Organization are both crying fowl. In a joint statement the groups say they are both frustrated and disappointed by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation recent decision to continue misusing R.V. Registration fund monies for purposes for which they were not intended.
“RV enthusiasts proposed and supported passage of legislation to tax themselves. Under the agreement, the funds would be available for grant-based distribution to improve recreation for RV owners across Idaho and not just in Parks” said Mate Maitland, Good Sam Legislative Representative and IRC Board Member. "It is unfair and it makes no sense to have money collected through RV registrations diverted away from RV related activities. We did not propose and support this fee as a means to fund state parks,” he added.
The misdirecting of RV funds began during the financial collapse of 2010. At that time, the general fund budget was reduced by 80% for Parks. To make up for budget shortfall, the IDPR Board voted to divert 2 million dollars per year of the RV Registration Fund to cover operations and maintenance of state parks. This diversion of funds was considered a short term solution that would expire in 2015. Because of the short timeline, the RV Advisory Committee reluctantly agreed to the IRDC Board's decision. Unfortunately, in April of 2013 the IDPR Board voted to continue to use up to $1.5 million in RV funds for operations on an on¬going basis. They did so without consulting anyone from the RV community.
"We believed that IDPR would honor their word and in 2015 the RV Sticker funds would once again be used in the manner in which they were intended. We trusted the IDPR Board. It is important to understand that IDPR already is receiving in excess of $500,000 annually from the funds for administrative costs,” said Joyce Barcus, Good Sam State Director. “Unfortunately, they have rewarded our trust by voting to continue taking our funds indefinitely. The IDPR board has essentially transformed our registration fund into a tax imposed solely upon Idaho's RV owners for the purpose of funding parks,” she added.
"If IDPR can take the RV sticker funds and use them any way they wish, then what is to stop them from raiding the snowmobile, motorbike, ATV/UTV or boating funds?" asked Jim Kulm, President of IRC.
IRC and RV representatives will be attending the IDPR board meeting in Lewiston on
May 20th and 21st to urge the Board to reconsider their position and stay true to the original
intent of the RV Registration Fund.