Yup. The annual political teeth-pulling exercise known as the California Budget Approval Process continues to drag out with few concrete milestones reached. It does look, however, like our State Park System may not be the sacrificial lamb it once looked like.
Apparently, 69 of the threatened state parks were given to the state or contain land donated by the federal government, and those donations were only given under the agreement that the lands remain open to the public forever. Closing those parks, which include locals like Point Mugu and Topanga, would probably result in a bunch of lawsuits and loss of a significant chunk of federal funds.
Someone probably should have done a little more research before they put all those parks on the chopping block, right?
And of course, on the legislative side, things also remain stalled. There are a bunch of different plans being put on the table right now, and it can get a bit confusing, but right now it still boils down to: Democrats are trying to offer plans that salvage some state programs and raise revenue through additional fees and taxes (like the proposed $15 vehicle license fee increase that would cover State Park budgets and give all California residents free day-passes to those parks), while Schwarzenegger still says he would veto any budget that included new taxes or fees, and instead wants to cut the paychecks of state employees and other state services.
As usual, the LAist has a great summary of what’s been going on so far … and if the budget isn’t passed by midnight tonight, the state will start issuing IOU’s instead of paychecks.
Anyone want to take bets?