More cuts to California state parks
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger whacked another $6.2 million from state parks funding when he signed the state budget today. The cuts could force the closure of an additional 50 parks, for a total of 100 that may be shut for lack of money this year.
“This is a dark day in the history of California’s state park system," said Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the California State Parks Foundation. "At a time when Californians are most in need of their low-cost, accessible state parks, the gates are being slammed in their faces."
Altogether the parks are losing $14.2 million in funding. In his original budget plan, Schwarzenegger proposed closing 220 parks, or 80% of the state park system, to save about $143 million.
Schwarzenegger also took an axe to the Williamson Act, a program that gives property tax breaks to farmers and landowners who maintain open space. The state compensates local governments for their property tax losses.
In signing the budget, the governor used his veto power to trim nearly $500 million more from the state budget, the subject of a protracted legislative battle over how to close the state's deficit.
-- Bettina Boxall
Photo: The governor discusses the $85-billion revised state budget before signing it at the Capitol today. Credit: Rick Pedroncelli / Associated Press