Governor David A. Paterson today announced that he will send a bill to the Legislature that would provide funding to continue the operation of State parks and historic sites this year. Enactment of this bill would allow 41 State parks and 14 historic sites to remain open and would provide for continued services at 23 parks and one historic site. The bill would also continue necessary and critical programs funded through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).
“I have heard from my colleagues in the Legislature that funding State parks and historic sites is a top priority, but I have not heard any specific solutions as to how to pay for it,” Governor Paterson said. “The bill I will send today to the Legislature will provide a funding plan for parks, but will require sacrifice. There is no free lunch. If Legislators want to fully fund the parks, that money must come from a real source.”
The Governor’s bill includes a fund transfer and appropriation authorization. Specifically, this bill would:
The bill does not increase State spending since proposed new funding, critical to keeping parks operating, will be offset by one-time across-the-board reductions to nearly all programs funded in the EPF. Deposits into the EPF from the Real Estate Transfer Tax will be reduced commensurate with the recommended spending levels.
“Given this opportunity to vote up or down on this particular issue, I now expect that the Legislature will return its focus to passing a responsible budget,” the Governor added.