May 29, 2010 Doug Campbell Uncategorized
All 55 closed state parks affected by new agreement
All New York State parks and historic sites will reopen after being shut down earlier this month, including Chittenango Falls State Park in Madison County.
Governor David A. Paterson announced that an agreement has been reached with the Legislature to ensure there are sufficient revenues to maintain operations at all New York State parks and historic sites, including all Department of Environmental Conservation campgrounds in the Adirondacks and Catskills. The agreement with the Legislature achieves $74 million in State General Fund savings and contains Governor Paterson’s E-waste Program Bill.
“I am pleased that an agreement has been reached to reopen the 55 State parks and historic sites that were closed earlier this month,” Paterson said. “In addition, we are providing critical funding for clean air and water programs and implementing a new program to better manage the disposal of E-waste that I proposed and have fought for.”
The agreement reached with the legislature includes $74 million in General Fund savings by reducing the amount of Real Estate Transfer Tax revenues to be deposited into the Environmental Protection Fund by $80 million, using $6 million of RETT funds to provide for the operation of 55 State parks and historic sites that had previously been closed and depositing the remaining $74 million in the General Fund.
The state will use proceeds from the RETT to support state parks ($11 million) and for payments to local governments in the forest preserve ($5 million). These $16 million in expenditures are not included in the EPF.
“State parks are part of our history and our future,” Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson said. “Families depend on parks for recreation, and as the economic engine that drives our tourism industry, New York depends on them for its economy.”
The agreement will also generate $4 million in new revenues to support the EPF, including increased penalties for violations of environmental laws and hazardous waste generation fees.
“These are tough times and many families are still struggling to make ends meet and can’t afford lavish vacations,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “Our parks give them the opportunity to stay close to home and enjoy all that our state has to offer. It is time to resolve this issue immediately and give the people of New York State their parks back.”
“The people of New York have spoken loud and clear — they don’t want their parks to close. With the sound source of revenue they provide, parks improve our economy with 5-to-1 return on investment to the state and improve the quality of life through affordable recreational activities,” said Senator Jose Serrano, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation. “I am proud to deliver a solution to keeping parks open in time for the Memorial Day weekend.”