$54 Million Found In Secret California Parks Accounts
Author: Mack Rawden
published: 2012-07-21 13:54:44
With the state out of money and its Parks Department operating in the red, Governor Jerry Brown pushed forward a plan that would have closed one quarter of all California’s natural attractions. The cost-cutting measure was to begin in July, but thanks to generous donations from businesses, private citizens and cities, the doors remained open. Now those same donors are looking for answers after the Parks Department publically admitted it hid $54 million in two separate accounts.
Ruth Coleman, who led the agency for almost ten years, has already stepped down thanks to the public relations disaster and her second in command has been terminated as well. According to Mercury News, the park entrance fees and state funds for off-highway vehicle parks started being hidden more than a decade ago, and the money has slowly built in the time since. No one has offered any explanation as to why the illegal and clever accounting practices were begun, but the fallout could wind up costing more people their jobs by the time the scandal has passed.
Even though he was not involved, the mess is widely considered a disaster for Governor Brown since he’s already announced he’ll ask voters to raise taxes in November. The aforementioned $54 million could well be the only money the state has in reserve accounts. Then again, there’s now reason to wonder if there’s more.
State parks are supposed to be for the benefit of all citizens. Shame on everyone involved for asking people to step up and donate when it clearly wasn’t needed.