Assemblyman Gordon pushes proposal to help keep California state parks open
By Bob Difley
In a previous post, More California State Parks Crossed Off the Closure List, I wrote about the new California Assembly bill AB-42, which enables California State Parks to work with non-profit organizations to operate state parks until more permanent funding is found. The post also showed how a creative parks director can inspire her staff to come up with creative and non-traditional ways to keep the parks open.
Following that line, Assemblyman Richard Gordon, D-Redwood City, pushed a proposal through the budget subcommittee that he chairs that would encourage a more entrepreneurial spirit among the supervisors and staff in the state park system. Resulting from discussions in staff meetings, Gordon realized that their was no incentive for park operators to work at creating ways to bring more paying customers into the parks, since the additional funds collected disappeared into the general fund.
So a new plan emerged, one in which 50% of the increase in revenue from events, promotions, etc. stays with the individual park to cover their budget shortfalls or to be used for infrastructure repair. The proposal, however is not a slam dunk. It first has to be included in the legislature’s final budget. But it does seem to be another step in the right direction, of individuals putting their heads together to accomplish something that the legislature can’t. And if this works out, hopefully these kind of creative ideas could spread to other states who also are having trouble keeping their parks open.
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