Senate Democrats Reject Plan to Keep New York’s Parks Open

Andrew J. Lanza

May 25, 2010

Monday, May 25, 2010 -- State Senate Democrat defeated legislation proposed by Senate Republicans that would have authorized $6 million to reopen parks and historic sites throughout the state. The bill was offered as an amendment to the budget extender legislation sent up by the Governor.

The extender legislation included a $65 million sweep from the New York Power Authority. The Republican amendment, supported by Senator Andrew Lanza, would have used $6 million from the Power Authority sweep to reopen 41 parks and 14 historical sites throughout the state that were closed last Monday as a result of the late state budget.

“The budget is now 54 days late, and the inaction of Democrats in Albany continues to cause chaos throughout the state,” said Senator Lanza. “Last week, visitors to state parks were greeted by locked gates. Senate Democrats have talked about the need to reopen our parks, but every single one of them voted against this plan that would have ensured that New Yorkers have access to our parks as the holiday weekend approaches.”

“Families throughout the State rely on our parks as an affordable means for recreation, but inaction on the state budget has forced parks all over the state to be shut down,” said Senator Lanza. “Our plan would simply divert $6 million of a planned $65 million sweep to ensure that our parks get re-opened so New Yorkers and visitors to our state can enjoy them once again.”

Senate Democrats were prepared to vote on a one-house bill (S.7776) last week to keep parks open, even though the legislation did not include any means of funding. They decided at the last minute not to take up the legislation. Despite the fact that they were prepared to pass legislation to keep our parks open, they voted unanimously to kill the Senate Republican plan.

During last week’s debate on the budget extender legislation, Senate Republicans condemned the closing of the parks as a result of the stalled budget process and implored Senate Democrats to begin bipartisan, public negotiations in order to finally get a budget in place.