[Source: Arizona Republic] — Watch out! Falling plaster! Arizona’s state parks are literally crumbling. Chunks of plaster are coming off the walls at Douglas Mansion in Jerome. Parts of the sidewalk around the historic building are closed off to protect the public.
The Legislature slashed park spending and raided the capital funds in the budget crisis of 2002. The money wasn’t restored when revenues were rolling in. Arizona State Parks, with jewels that range from the underground wonders of Kartchner Caverns to the scenic and recreational pleasures of Picacho Peak, has an operating budget of $26 million — about $4 per Arizonan. Now, with the state facing a massive shortfall, the legislative budget proposal would slash park spending further.
On top of that, there’s a breathtakingly illogical proposal to cut park fees. Senate Bill 1458 would shrink the cost of an annual pass by 20 percent for Arizona residents. It passed the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Rural Affairs on a 4-3 vote. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]