As many as 223 state parks throughout California could be closed, including 25 in and around the Bay Area, in a cost-cutting move proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger to help deal with the state's $24 billion deficit. According to the Chron, the governor is proposing to eliminate the $150 million that parks receive from the state's general fund. If the proposal goes through, it means maintenance workers, office technicians, park superintendents, landscapers, rangers, environmental scientists, administrative officers and bookkeepers will have to be laid off. And parks that cannot sustain themselves with higher user fees would be closed. The governor warned of painful cuts if the five budget compromise measures were turned down, but voters either ignored him, or preferred the cuts to raising taxes.
The proposed hit on state parks comes on top of other financial cuts the governor proposed on Tuesday, according to the Chron:
- $750 million from the University of California and California State University systems, bringing the total reduction over two fiscal years to nearly $2 billion.
- $10.3 million - Eliminate all state general fund spending for UC Hastings College of Law.
- $173 million - Eliminate new Cal Grants.
- $70 million - Eliminate general fund support for state parks, potentially closing 80 percent of them.
- $247.8 million - Eliminate the Healthy Families program, which provides health care to nearly 1 million poor children.
- $1.3 billion - Eliminate the CalWorks program, which primarily helps unemployed single mothers find jobs.
- $809 million - Release nonviolent, non-serious, non-sex offenders one year early, and reduce the Corrections Department's contract work, rehabilitation and education programs.
The only one that doesn't seem that painful is the release of nonviolent, non-serious prisoners, but the reduction of rehabilitation and education programs will ultimately be a mistake.