|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||April 11, 2005|
|Contact:||Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA, 202-454-3332|
New Poll Says 3 in 5 Would Donate to National Parks on their Federal Tax Returns
WASHINGTON, D.C. - According to a new poll conducted by Zogby International on behalf of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), 61% of likely voters expressed the likelihood to donate to the national parks if given the option to do so on their federal tax returns. Based on the number of tax returns filed in 2002, survey results indicate that as much as $650 million could be realized annually with the addition of a check-off box benefiting the parks on federal tax returns.
“This outstanding support for our national parks comes at a critical time,” said NPCA President Tom Kiernan. “Funding for America’s national parks is at a ‘bear’ minimum. A tax check-off can help to address the parks’ critical maintenance and natural and cultural preservation needs.”
In March, a bi-partisan group of congressional representatives, led by Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) and Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), introduced legislation to fund America’s national parks. The National Park Centennial Act of 2005, H.R. 1124, seeks to increase funding for the maintenance needs of the parks and fund natural and cultural preservation projects through 2016—the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. The legislation provides new funding for the parks from the general treasury and from an innovative, voluntary check-off on federal tax returns, and is designed to enable Congress to more effectively address the critical funding needs of the national parks.
The Zogby poll also revealed that 1 in 4 likely voters would be likely to donate $20 or more if given the option on their federal tax return. Using this data, and based on the number of tax returns filed in 2002, survey results indicate that as much as $650 million could be realized annually with the addition of a voluntary check-off box benefiting the national parks on federal tax returns.
According to a March 2005 Congressional Research Service report, the estimated size of the backlog of maintenance projects in the national parks is between $4.5 billion and $9.7 billion, with a mid-range figure of $7.11 billion.
Additionally, NPCA’s new report, Faded Glory: Top 10 Reasons to Reinvest in America’s National Park Heritage, points out that the annual operating budget of the national parks is short more than $600 million annually, limiting the ability of the Park Service to address poaching and drug smuggling, repair shoddy roads and trails, conduct wildlife research and monitoring, restore crumbling historic buildings, and provide sufficient educational programs for school groups and park visitors.
Zogby International conducted interviews of 1,009 likely voters chosen at random nationwide. All calls were made from Zogby International headquarters in Utica, N.Y., from 3/30/05 through 4/1/05. The margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points. The universe of taxpayers is not appreciably different from the universe of the survey, which were likely voters.
# # #