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Evaluation of Shore Protection Projects in California

Executive Summary of 1999 Report on: The Fiscal Impact of Beaches      

by Philip King, Ph.D.

Prepared for the California Department of Boating and Waterways.

To download a full copy of the Report in Adobe Acrobat format, click here. (If you do not have Acrobat software, you may download it at www.adobe.com. )

  • In 1998, California’s Beaches generated $14 billion dollars of direct revenue. When the indirect and induced benefits of this spending are added, California’s beaches total contribution to the national economy is $73 billion
  • The Federal tax revenues generated by this beach activity are substantial. The direct Federal tax revenues generated are $2.6 billion; however, the total Federal tax revenues generated are much higher: $14 billion.
  • California’s beaches generated 883,000 jobs across the U.S.
  • California receives less than one tenth as much in Federal appropriations as New York and New Jersey, which have much smaller coastlines and fewer miles of beaches.
  • California ranks eighth in terms of Federal appropriations for shoreline protection, just ahead of Delaware. It receives just under $12,000 per mile of coastline compared with well over $800,000 for New York and New Jersey.
  • While California receives twice as much in Federal appropriations for shoreline protection as Delaware (the 9th largest recipient of Federal funds) California’s beaches generates 20 times more economic activity for the national economy and roughly 20 times more tax revenues than Delaware’s beaches. In other words, California generates 10 times more Federal tax dollars for every dollar in shoreline appropriations it receives than Delaware.
  • Our study of Huntington Beach indicates that much of the Federal and State tax revenues generated by local beach communities do not go back to local communities. In our survey in Huntington Beach, one-half of all spending on beach activities occurred outside the city. Further, many of the tax dollars generated within the city go to state and Federal authorities. Overall, Huntington Beach’s beaches generated $135 million in Federal tax revenues and $25 million in sales tax revenues compared to only $4.8 million in local revenues from sales taxes and parking fees.

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