Every responsible state budget means someone gets to swallow some bitter pills when their pet project gets slashed. You can’t reign in government waste and keep everyone happy. I get that.
But Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan to shutter 48 of California’s magnificent state parks is not just a blow to people who like to spend their weekends in them — it doesn’t make fiscal sense. Total savings from closing 48 parks? $9 million annually — less than 0.1 percent of the state budget. What can a state buy for $9 mil these days? Meanwhile, the cost to the spiritual and physical health of the state would be incalculable.
The state’s obligation to maintain a few slivers of natural land for public use seems crystal clear. The question, I suppose, is how much land, and at what expense? Fortunately state parks are cheap to run, and we’re talking about tiny specs of real estate in the big picture.
Then, let the governor know that Californians won’t make this particular sacrifice, especially not at this miniscule benefit/cost ratio.