Off-highway vehicle leadership from the AMA District 36, District 37, American Sand Association, the California Association of 4-Wheel Drive Clubs, California-Nevada Snowmobile Association and the Off-Road Business Association met with Aaron Read and Associates this week to discuss continued reallocation of California's OHMVR trust fund monies in the form of loans and, most recently, rationalization of a permanent $10 million loss of gasoline tax investments into the fund.
The goal of the meeting was education about potential solutions for permanent protection of the OHMVR Trust and what options OHV leadership should consider to best fill a potential shortfall in the more than $85 million annual operating budget required to maintain the state's OHMVR program.
The State of California, like most states, is facing tough choices in establishing a balanced budget. Faced with significant loss of services, Governor Jerry Brown has tasked legislatures with spreading cuts to all areas. OHV leadership expressed fear of drastic reduction in the OHMVR program and the continued loss of reserves earmarked for acquisitions and large capitol improvements of State Vehicle Recreation Areas (SVRA) to Aaron Read and Associates in an effort to establish a long-term action plan for continuation of a solvent program.
The 2011/2012 California State Budget will remove $31 million from the OHMVR Trust Fund by means of a $21 million loan from the OHMVR trusts reserves and the redistribution of $10 million of California gasoline tax before it enters the State Parks budget. The OHMVR's budget is made up primarily from the investment of approximately $65 million in California gasoline tax, with approximately $17 million in "Green Sticker" registration and $3 million in SVRA fees making up the rest of the annual budget respectively. Reserves are normally used for capital improvements to SVRA or potential acquisitions of new SVRA opportunities.
Since the creation of the Chappie Z'berg Act in 1971, the program's self-funded budget has been under continued attack in the form of redistribution of funds by way of loans, most of which have never been remunerated back to the program. With a history of loss, OHV leadership hopes to explore ways in which the program can assure continued success in providing self-funded high quality OHV recreation, law enforcement support, education of safe and responsible OHV operation, grants to federal OHV projects, conservation, restoration and acquisition of new properties.
While the October 2007 SB742 law reformed the OHMVR program, OHV leadership, understanding changes to state budget concerns, now feels that additional steps may be necessary to ensure the protection of a very successful OHMVR program for our future generations of Californians.
AMA ama-d36.com or district37ama.org
California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs Cal4wheel.com
California-Nevada Snowmobile Association CNSA.net