Home » Opinion » Editorials
Charging seniors: The right policy for state parks
New Hampshire has a user-supported parks system. To keep general taxes low, the state charges a modest entry fee at the state parks and at many historic sites. The individual entry fee for state parks is only $4. That is an entire day at a place like Bear Brook State Park for less than the price of one movie ticket.
The senior exception is generally thought of as a kindness. In reality, it is a cross-subsidy. Every other user subsidizes the "free" access for senior citizens. If the general admission price is to stay low, the exception cannot continue. The parks system cannot afford to let so many people in for free. (The politician exception is inexcusable and never should have been passed in the first place.)
Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, has proposed legislation to offer seniors a $20 parks pass. For less than the price of a dinner for two, senior citizens could purchase a pass that would let them into every state park and historic site - and Cannon Mountain - for the year. On Thursday, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 17-7.
Stiles says that by charging seniors and the political class, the state parks will see about $300,000 a year in increased revenue. That money will go directly to the parks system, which has struggled financially in recent years even after some reforms that have improved revenues.
It is understandable that seniors would be annoyed by this change, and that Democrats (every senator to vote against the bill was a Democrat) would oppose it for purely self-interested political reasons. But really the current policy is indefensible. State parks fees are modest. Stiles' $20 pass is modestly priced (too modestly) as well. (The bill should include a separate, higher-priced pass for Cannon Mountain.) It is neither cruel nor unreasonable to ask seniors to contribute a tiny bit to the upkeep of the state parks if they want to use them.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Dave D'Onofrio's Patriots Notebook: It took a while, but now they're on Wright track - 0
- Newmarket blacksmith has forged a career shaping the elementsof steel - 0
- Kathy Sullivan: We need to rethink some of our county government positions - 0
- Pipes and plans: A chance to show up Mass. - 0
- H.S. Football Power Poll: No doubt - Astros finish on top - 0
- College Hockey: Wildcats home to RPI on Tuesday night - 0
- Manchester school board OK's contract for driver’s ed program - 0
- Unrest erupts after grand jury decides against charges in Ferguson, Mo., shooting - 0
- Malkin, Crosby foil Bruins in overtime - 0
Clinton has 'historic' lead in poll
Sources say former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card to be tapped as Franklin Pierce president
Randy Johnson, Pedro, Smoltz lead HOF ballot
Tough task for NH budget writers
Pipes and plans: A chance to show up Mass.
Teacher 'thrilled' at being reinstated
Paul, Christie share lead in primary poll