[Source: Scott Stahl, www.examiner.com] — In a 5th Legislative Special Session on December 17, 2009, elected officials continue to play with the future of Arizona. They could easily be rewriting the history of the state. They are a legislature that seems to be unable to make difficult decisions and still maintain the integrity of this great state. Their position has been no temporary tax increase and cut spending. Thus far, every special session has added new cuts, loss of personnel and services.
The most recent cuts in a proposed House Bill 2001 calls for a further reduction of 7.5% to all state agencies budgets and reallocation of funds. The Secretary of State’s office has stated that it is now too late to consider a tax referendum because of time constraints.
Arizona State Parks would lose $3,151,100 in Fund reductions and transfers along with Fund sweeps of $6,088,700. Apparently the studies done by Northern Arizona University, The Morrison Institute, and the Governor’s Task Force on State Parks Sustainability had no impact on the legislature. The impact of this cut could reduce revenue to the state’s economy by over $266 million dollars.
When you think of the stories of our National Parks by Ken Burns, “One of America’s Greatest Ideas”, you have to wonder what America will say about Arizona’s destruction of their State Parks System. That is exactly what will happen if this current bill passes. More people will lose their jobs and parks will have to close. The loss of revenue will force the Parks System to dispose of property purchased and paid for by the people of Arizona, to benefit the people of Arizona, now and in the future.