FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 14, 2020
Sacramento, CA – Governor Gavin Newsom today released his revised budget proposal, which is down 22.3% from January and eliminates billions in funding for program expansions and spending increases, unfortunately including significant cuts for California’s state parks. The state parks system is facing a $30 million overall cut as well as the elimination of $20 million in funding for the Outdoor Equity Grants Program established under AB 209, which goes directly towards programs to increase access to the outdoors for many of the same populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The proposed budget cuts follow substantial revenue loss California state parks have experienced from COVID-19 related park closures resulting in a decline in visitor fees and concessions.
Rachel Norton, Executive Director of California State Parks Foundation, offers a preliminary statement on the revised budget:
“While we are disappointed by the cuts, the reality is we aren’t surprised – parks funding has too often been first on the chopping block during financial hardships. But, during this time of increased stress and uncertainty, we are urging our leaders to listen to Californians who made the need for park access loud and clear throughout this crisis – the fact is, the need for parks has never been greater and public desire and support for them has never been clearer."
“We stand right alongside the Governor in wanting to support and prioritize Californians impacted by COVID-19, but we are concerned that cutting dollars critical to keeping our existing parks open and accessible to those who need them most, while earmarking funding for a new state park, does not reflect this vision."
“Throughout this crisis parks have been there for all of us, now it is time for leadership to step up and be there for parks so we can weather this storm together.”