Nov 29 2012

California’s National Parks May Be in Danger Over Fiscal Negotiations

Feature Stories | Published 29 Nov 2012, 10:59 am | Comments Off on California’s National Parks May Be in Danger Over Fiscal Negotiations -

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Californians who thought they had averted a major budget crisis by passing Proposition 30, are now dreading a new financial meltdown if the State is denied federal funds due to political bickering over tax cuts and spending called the “fiscal cliff.”

If Congress and the President are unable to reach a budget deal by January 2nd California could lose about $11 billion dollars in tax revenue. While the loss of federal money would affect everything from local police departments to after school programs, one area that would be particularly hard hit would be California’s national parks.

Reduced funding would further exacerbate an already struggling national parks system. California’s national parks, which include Santa Monica, Yosemite, Joshua Tree and Muir Woods, would see visitor centers closed, fewer park rangers on patrol, campgrounds boarded up and some smaller parks shut down completely if the current national parks budget of $400 million is reduced by 10 percent.

While the national parks budget represents a fraction of a percent of the total federal budget, national parks generate some $31 billion in private sector spending and provide jobs for up to 258,000 people. In 2011, funding for the national parks was slashed by close to $140 million.

GUEST: Ron Sundergill, Senior Pacific Regional Director of the National Parks Conservation Association

Visit www.npca.org for more information.

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