[Source: Kyle Mittan, Tucson Weekly] – It looks as if the chance to restore Heritage Fund dollars to state parks and transit services is dead for the year.
But Tucson Rep. Ethan Orr said he would continue to work to restoring the Heritage Fund, despite the House Appropriations Committee’s recent decision to not hear House Bill 2594. Orr, as the bill’s primary sponsor, had wanted to restore the Heritage Fund dollars that were eliminated in 2010 as part of a budget-balancing package. His bill would have directed $10 million in lottery funds to the Heritage Fund, as well as $9 million in lottery funds to local transportation.
Although the bill failed to get past the Appropriations Committee, Orr said he planned to bring the bill back next year. Orr added that he has had a close working relationship with Arizona State Parks Executive Director Bryan Martyn, who also has an “excellent 20-year vision” for the maintenance and preservation of Arizona’s state parks.
Orr said that the state parks are important on a number of levels, specifically in terms of state economics and preserving the history of Arizona. “Strictly from an economical standpoint, they’re key drivers for our rural communities,” he said. “And they’re part of our heritage; they’re part of celebrating what’s beautiful in Arizona.”