Friday, August 07, 2009

Thumbs down to Governor Hollywood

Ok, having finally finished blogging our wonderful trip to California, I have one great big ole' gripe I've got to get off my mind. California Governor Arnold Hollywood (Schwarzenegger), has made a proposal to shut down as many as 80% of California's state parks. This would close some 220 of the state’s 279 state parks. Now, I realize that when you've got budget troubles, there have got to be cutbacks, but this appears to be a very short-sighted solution.

So, let's do some math. California state parks have an estimated 75 million visitors every year. On our recent trip, we spent an average of $1,500 per person for a one week visit and toured 10 state parks during that time. Had these parks been closed we would not have gone to California. Assuming we are "average" travelers and I think we are -- not staying at a Motel 6, but then not staying at the Hyatt either, California's loss of tourism dollars would heavily impact numerous businesses.

If only one half of the 75 million visitors to these state parks come from out of state and say, spend only $1,000 during their visit, they would spend over $37 billion during their stay in California. If they don't visit, because the parks are closed, that's a huge loss of tourism dollars for the state.

Now, I see, that in July, California's state park system escaped an immediate, almost-total dismantling by the California Legislature. Instead of 220 parks closing, a final budget gap of about $8 million spared most parks, but this does not avoid all closures and this topic remains high on the list of further budget cuts.
At a time that the news is filled with California's wasteful spending on items such as social programs for illegal aliens, excess spending in prisons, over the top travel expenses for politicians, and other inefficiencies, this potential budget cut idea appears rediculous.

Though I'm not a very political person, it appears from this outsider's point of view that California's left-wing extremists have damn near buried the state. Though this article is a bit dated, I couldn't say it better than this: "California Liberalism: Out Of Fashion?"

If interested, these are the state parks we visited during our trip.

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