Lisa Murkowski, a middle of the road republican from Alaska recently suggested taxing outdoor recreation equipment to help pay off the $12+ billion dollar maintenance backlog that currently hangs over the nation’s national parks.
According to Alaska Public Media, Murkowski floated the idea this past Tuesday at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee meeting, illustrating how current financial structures are far from solving the NPS financial crisis. “We’re basically using cyclic funds to just kind of patch [Polychrome Pass Road in Denali National Park].” She went on to explain how a possible multi-million dollar reroute is currently not included in the total NPS deferred maintenance costs.
She went full disclosure from that point, asking REI government affairs director Marc Berejka if the outdoor recreation retailer would be open to a gear tax. She admitted before proposing the possible tax by saying, “I just want to throw a little bit of a wildcard out there.”
The REI rep defended his company’s tax status saying, “we feel that the outdoors is good for you,so there’s no reason to make it harder to acquire the things that make their lives better.” That’s a valid point.
Find the entire Alaska Public Media article here: Murkowski suggests taxing outdoor rec gear to help fund park projects