A penny for the parks, tax income at 1¢ for $100 earned.
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Our national parks provides a service for all Americans, and tourists regardless of ethnicity and income. To ensure that we continue to provide the best service without burdening those who would like to experience the wonder of North America's nature, I propose a tax. one so insignificant that even those with the lowest income will not be adversely effected.
Assuming a median income of $55,000(1) (rounded down), and a labor force of 155,000,000(2)(rounded down), we can produce this result: A tax of only 1¢ for every $100 earned, we could fund our national parks service at approximately $852.5M annually. This would be a much more effective process than the proposed price hike which proponents state will increase revenue by about $35M(3)
The proposal which was released on October 24, 2017 proposed a doubling of the price at some parks. This does have two effects, one of which is a reduction in congestion and traffic to these areas. The other effect is creating a system of inequality to access these parks. those who have a lower income will be unfairly affected. the majority of visitors can afford this price hike, but the use of this hike to reduce traffic will primarily have an effect on the lower income and less financially stable visitors.
If we do not manage the increasing cost of the parks in a manner such as this, we will set a prescient for continued rate hikes and a future where only those who have the most economic capital can experience the wonders of our natural landmarks. Secondly, as you reduce the number of visitors in this way you will need to increase rates yet again to continue meeting the cost to maintain the parks. Finally, this added funding will allow the parks to increase maintenance and repairs to facilities which are sorely in need of attention. This not only provides a better experience but produces jobs for tradespeople and training for citizens new to the labor force.
1: Earnings: https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2016/demo/p60-256.html
2: Workforce: https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/susb/tables/2015/us_state_totals_2015.xlsx
3: Price change for national parks: https://www.gao.gov/modules/ereport/handler.php?1=1&path=/ereport/GAO-16-375SP/data_center_savings/General_government/23._National_Park_Service_Fees
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