Paterson caved on a threat to close 55 state parks and historic sites, which means the budget deficit just grew by $11 million.
You’d think state parks would be an easy, if tragic, item to strip from the budget. But why cut anything when you can sweep money from dedicated funds and hide the deficit?
AP:”The Legislature has made the tough choices to my satisfaction that will enable us to open the parks,” Paterson said. His administration had listed 41 parks and 14 of the state’s 35 historic sites for closing, along with service cuts at others, to help close the state’s budget gap.
Paterson said negotiations that ended early Thursday morning would provide $11 million for full operations this year, effectively offset by money from the Environmental Protection Fund, which would be cut by about $74 million. The measure is also expected to keep the historic sites open this year, as well as Department of Environmental Conservation campgrounds targeted for closing.
In fact, by borrowing $74 million from the EPF, the state can keep every single park open and may even reduce the deficit.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli admits that New York has used these fiscal tricks to hide its deficit for years, and he’s lost track of the growing debt.
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