Gov. David Paterson announces what could be an 11th-hour reprieve for New York state parks.
Paterson said his staff had worked though the night and seemed to have found middle ground in an attempt to keep 55 state parks and historic sites across the state open in time for the holiday weekend.
A Paterson source told NBC New York, "We basically have a deal on parks. we worked through the night on negotiations, came up with a staff level deal, now the legislative houses will conference it this morning, if they agree, it should be passed today."
This statement comes in response to yesterday’s anxious announcement by Senate Democrats that a deal had been reached to avoid any more outrage over the parks closures.
The New York governor offered only brief details but a source said the measure calls for a $74 million cut to the Environmental Protection Fund. This affords the governor the $11 million needed to pay for park operations. The agreement also had some proposal to regulate the disposal of consumer electronics in order to mitigate the cut to the Environmental Protection Fund.
The parks battle did little to help the governor, who continues to wrestle with the overdue budget. The state, which is now in the second month of its 2010-2011 fiscal year, is still trying to close its $9.2 billion budget gap and it will most likely not have a budget deal ready by the June 1st deadline.
“The legislature has made the tough choices to my satisfaction to enable us to open the parks,” Paterson said. “The real tough problem is we are still anywhere from a billion to a billion-and-a-half dollars apart.”