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Letter: State Park Closings Are Unnecessary

It is troubling to imagine that Long Islanders could lose some of the most family-friendly park venues in this state and that a patriotic event, like the Jones Beach July 4th fireworks celebration, could be discontinued.

This, while Governor Paterson proposes denying Long Island school districts, public colleges, health facilities and hospitals their fair share of the state budget. These and many other fiscal problems are a result of wasteful and unnecessary state spending, which is not the fault of the Parks Department. In fact, our parks and recreational facilities are proven economic engines, generating more financial benefit to our communities than they cost the state.

There is a much more palatable and sensible solution to bring fiscal health to the state. My Republican colleagues and I have provided the governor with sound alternatives to close the budget deficit. Instituting these initiatives could save the state more than the projected $9.05 billion deficit that New York currently faces. We can realize this cure without cutting school aid, essential health care, and draconian cuts to important state resources. Some of our ideas include many state agency consolidations, collecting Native American cigarette taxes, terminating or downsizing state commissions and authorities, and weeding out the fraud, waste and abuse of our Medicaid system.

Albany must operate with appropriate fiscal responsibility and cap spending. We must stop funding broken and unnecessary programs, end the waste of taxpayer dollars, eliminate job-killing taxes, and stop imposing new taxes and actions such as unfunded mandates that increase property taxes. Better, more thoughtful options are available and I will not support a budget that hurts school districts, essential health care, and increases property taxes or threatens our state parks.

Assemblyman Joseph S. Saladino

12th District