I posted this in NorCal forums a little while ago, but it affects everyone down south in my old stomping grounds too - did any of you get this from the Governator?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about funding for our State Parks system in the 2008-09 Fiscal Year. I appreciate hearing from fellow Californians during this difficult budget year.
California's natural beauty is renowned throughout the world, and I have made it my priority to protect our environment so future generations of Californians can continue to experience and enjoy what we have all come to love. Our state parks provide a fantastic introduction for each of these generations to the California experience and help to bring our residents and visitors closer to our landscapes.
I heard your concerns when I submitted my first budget proposal in January, and I'm happy to write you today to inform you that the May Revision of my budget restores funding for the California Department of Parks and Recreation - keeping all of our 278 State Parks open and our State Beaches fully staffed with seasonal lifeguards. My revised budget proposal will provide $11.8 million from the General Fund and $1.5 million from increased State Park fees to keep our parks open. The fee increases will range from $1 to $2 at selected parks.
While State Parks funding has been restored, the long-term budget problems that threatened our parks still exist. Due to our dysfunctional budget system, we are still facing a $17.2 billion shortfall, despite the progress my partners in the Legislature and I have made to reduce this deficit.
Our budget problems aren't new. For too long, people have been on a constant roller coaster ride - never knowing how much funding they'll receive from one year to the next. We have to put an end to this feast-or-famine budget cycle that threatens funding not just for State Parks but for education, law enforcement, human services and other programs. Because of this, long term budget reform is a central point of my budget proposal. We will stabilize our budget system by establishing a rainy-day fund, so that in good years we put money aside to be used in bad years like this one, and we will also give the Legislature authority to make mid-year cuts more swiftly.
To jump-start budget reform, my revised budget proposal will get more value out of an underperforming state asset - the California Lottery. We will modernize the Lottery to boost performance and returns and gain the capital we need to establish our much-needed rainy-day fund.
As I work to finalize the budget, please know that your thoughts are important to me. By working together, we will be able to turn this temporary problem into a permanent victory for all Californians.
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