California Budget Deal Saves Parks, Keeps Offshore Drilling Plan
Last year, as the dog days of summer began to fade away, I took to the road here in California, hopping from state park to state park on vacation. I have planned a similar trip this year, but it was in serious jeopardy after the worst budget crisis in a generation hit California and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened to close 220 California parks to help save state funds. The trip may be back on after Schwarzenegger announced yesterday that the $70 million in proposed cuts has been lowered to $8 million. As budget deficits grew, Schwarzenegger proposed as part of a $3 billion package of spending cuts the parks closing plan, which would have saved the state in excess of $200 million in the next two fiscal years.
Many environmentalists balked at the cuts, and the National Park Service warned that the federal government could takeover some parks if the cuts were implemented.
I'll still need to be selective when picking which parks to call home for the night. There will still be budget cuts that will be based on use. The more underused parks could still get closed down once legislation goes through the state legislature.
In the spring, Schwarzenegger offered more offshore drilling off the Santa Barbara coast to raise about $1.8 billion in funds over the next decade. The offshore drilling plan seems to have survived and details are to come when there is a vote Thursday.