[Source: Arizona Preservation Foundation] — The cuts proposed in House Bill 2001 of the 5th Special Session are catastrophic to Arizona State Parks. Fund Reductions and Transfers totaling $3,151,100, coupled with Fund sweeps of $6,088,700 will eliminate the agency’s ability to operate. The Legislature seeks $205 million in cuts to begin to address a deficit currently estimated at $1.5 billion. The proposed cuts to State Parks would equate to 5% of their solution, while State Parks currently receives less than 1/10 of 1% of the overall state budget. Additionally, State Parks receives NO money from the state General Fund, but the impact of the park system on the state economy is more than $266 million.
The proposed cuts would force significant reductions in staff, thereby forcing a closure of much of the park system this fiscal year. Without the revenues that the open parks generate, the agency will be forced to dispose of much of the property that it currently manages.
Some of the most problematic cuts include:
- $2,302,100 in reductions and sweeps to the Enhancement Fund, the agency’s principal operating budget, will force reductions of approximately 75 staff and the closure of more than a half of the parks. The resulting loss in revenue will result in a zero balance to begin the next fiscal year (July 2010).
- $1,915,800 in reductions and sweeps to the State Lake Improvement Fund is more than the projected ending cash balance available. These cuts would make it impossible to operate the parks along the Colorado River.
- $3,909,400 in reductions and sweeps to the Arizona Heritage Fund will imperil funding for critical State Parks capital projects (including a water line for fire suppression at Lake Havasu State Park and the extension of Benson water line necessary for the long-term health of Kartchner Caverns), and grants currently under contract.
Please contact your legislator to express your opinion. To locate your legislator, visit: http://azleg.gov/alisStaticPages/HowToContactMember.asp
For more information about your Arizona State Parks, visit: http://azstateparks.com/
PDF of this Action Alert here: http://www.box.net/shared/mlqbgbrvsq