Is Schwarzenegger Bluffing on the Parks?

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to close most of California’s state parks has received copious amounts of ink recently. And there is no doubt that the state is facing severe budget problems. But the state-parks-closing plan would only save California’s general fund about $150 million at a time when it’s facing a $24 billion crisis. In other words, shutting down most of the state’s beautiful parks will solve less than 1 percent of our problem. Which makes one wonder whether Schwarzenegger is serious about the idea, or is he simply using it as a scare tactic in order to coerce both Democrats and Republicans back to the bargaining table? After all, conservatives love our park system just as much as liberals do. In fact, it’s about the only thing in the budget that’s apolitical, and so the threat of closing the parks may be the best way to goad both sides into negotiating a new budget agreement.

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