Sorry to interrupt your day with this but its really important and you should understand why. Currently Arizona is facing a huge budget shortfall because of the slow economy. One idea that the legislator has is to close down the state parks to save about $20 million dollars against the $4 Billion deficit that the state currently faces. Thats less that 1/10 of 1% yet the parks generate around $250 Million in local business revenue each year, and guess what? That revenue is taxed and helps out the State… Huh?
The problem with this is not just that we are shutting down everyday peoples access to affordable outdoor recreation but that we are eliminating a significant portion of revenue for local business and in turn State revenue:
“State parks take nothing from the general fund and actually give back to the state budget a big fat $22.7 million in state and local taxes. The state legislature has swept millions from state parks to help balance the budget, leaving them too short to operate the 30 parks in the system.
Three have already closed.
Does this make sense since state parks bring in more than $225 million dollars to the state’s economy through the 2.5 million visitors each year.”
“Bahl noted that last year parks contributed $25 million to the General Fund, even though parks themselves receive no General Fund dollars. A Northern Arizona University study found that the parks generated $266 million annually in economic activity for rural communities.
“We’re important to the economy,” Bahl said. “We’re important to the people right now. Folks can’t afford to do much these days, and parks are one affordable luxury that we want to keep open.””
The AZ State Parks foundation points out that if this is allowed to happen we may be looking at a huge land grab of pristine public land handed back over to private owners. Maybe they will put a chairlift on the Superstitions and install a KFC on the Flatiron…
“The cuts will force major reductions in Parks staff and closure of more than half of the State’s 30 parks this fiscal year. Â The resulting loss of Park revenue is projected to leave the Parks System with no money to start the next fiscal year, July 1, 2010. Â The next step will be to shut down the entire system and dispose of Parks properties, returning most of them to their original owners.”
According to the AZ State Parks Foundation there are a number of ways you can take action:
#1 – Call Governor Brewer and Email this sample letter (Word Doc):
Phone: Â 602-542-4331 or 800-253-0883
Mail: Â The Honorable Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona,
1700 West Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85007
#2 – Attend the AZ State Park Board Meeting on Jan 15th at the Phoenix Zoo and let them know how you feel about this.
#4 – Let the AZ State Parks Board know where you stand.
Take 30 minutes out of your day today and address this issue. Please.