Law to Save State Parks

Views of the State Parks in Marin County. Top row from left: Tomales Bay (from Eliya Selhub), Olompali (from J.V. Littell/Bay Area Hiker). Bottom row from left: Samuel P. Taylor (from Ed Batista), China Camp (from ca.gov)

A bill in the California Legislature is set to raise funds to save state parks, such as Tomales Bay, Olompali, Samuel P. Taylor, and China Camp, which are slated to close by 2013. They are currently operating but are open for limited hours. The bill, AB 1589, can help save the parks, raising revenue by increasing sales of annual park passes. Assembly Bill 1589, also known as the California State Parks Stewardship Act, is authored by Assemblymembers Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and Wesley Chesbro (D-North Coast). The bill will also allow a taxpayer to purchase an annual state parks pass with their state income tax refund. Technical improvements are still being made on AB 1589, which is getting unanimous votes in committee. Members of both parties are asking to be added as co-authors. State Controller John Chiang has registered his support, and is working to make sure key revenue elements of the bill are administratively feasible. “The parks closures disproportionately impact rural California, and nowhere is that more true than on the North Coast,” said Chesbro. Revenue raised by the bill will help guarantee state funding to operate and maintain the parks.  The money will also construct and install modern revenue and fee collection equipment Under the law only 25 state parks closures will be allowed from 2012 to 2016 without legislative approval. The Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee passed the bill with unanimous, bipartisan support. It  proceeds to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
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