Editorial — Protect the Harbors & Watercraft Revolving Fund
The boating advocacy group Recreational Boaters of California (RBOC) has issued a “Call to Action” to boaters across the state, asking them to immediately contact their elected representatives to prevent the taking of funds that are currently mandated for use only in boating projects to pay for non-boating-related flood control.
The California Senate is about to vote on Senate Bill 436, which would open the coffers of the entirely boater-financed and boating-dedicated state Harbors & Watercraft Revolving Fund to pay for a non-boating purpose: prevention of damage to streets and property within cities caused by beach erosion and flooding, including $1 million for areas located along Hueneme Beach.
According to RBOC, “Quick action is needed: This bill was just created through amendments on Sept. 6, and we anticipate it will be acted upon before the Legislature recesses … on Friday, Sept. 13.”
“SB 436 has been created through an end-of-session gut-and-amend action, to propose a significant change in the law controlling the proper use of boater-generated taxes and fees we pay to the state,” said Karen Rhyne, RBOC vice president, South Region.
While RBOC recognizes the importance of prevention efforts at Hueneme Beach, boaters are not the source of damage, explained Jerry Desmond, RBOC’s director of government relations, in a statement. “Nor are they the beneficiaries of the prevention efforts that would be financed by our (boating) tax dollars and registration fees,” he added.
“Now that the Department of Boating and Waterways (is) a division within the Department of Parks and Recreation, it is critical that the transition preserves and maintains the integrity, vitality, structure, funding and effectiveness of the Harbors & Watercraft Revolving Fund that works to provide programs and services that directly benefit boaters,” Desmond said.
The Log supports RBOC in asking all California boaters to contact their state Assembly and Senate members — and demand that they reject the unfair usurping of boater-dedicated funds that would be authorized under SB 436.