Thursday, April 11, 2013

Obama's Budget Proposal Slashes National Parks Budget by 13%

The National Park Service announced today that the "President’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget requests $2.6 billion to support the critical conservation, preservation, and recreation mission of the National Park Service."

This request represents a 13% reduction in the amount from the original 2013 NPS budget, which gave total budget authority to the NPS in the amount of $2.99 billion. That figure was recently reduced by 5% as a result of sequestration, which brought the NPS budget down to roughly $2.84 billion for fiscal year 2013. When compared to the revised sequestration budget, the President’s budget is still 8.5% below 2013 levels.

More importantly, the President’s 2014 budget request takes National Park funding back to 2004 levels, when the NPS had $2.56 billion in total budget authority. Indeed, each year since 2010, when total NPS budget authority reached $3.16 billion, the budget for National Parks has decreased.

According to the National Parks Traveler, the President's 2014 budget:
"calls for a reduction of more than 100 full-time employees to an agency that currently has 900 full-time vacancies"

"The budget also calls for a reduction of 92 employees under park operations, and 30 from the construction programs."

"According to a synopsis of the budget provided by the department, the proposal calls for more than $600 million in programmatic reductions to offset spending. It also would sustain current administrative cost reductions in travel, contract services, and supplies and equipment that would save $217 million."
Given that Obama's overall Federal spending remains relatively flat in 2014, versus 2013, the decision to reduce the National Parks budget in the amount he's requesting is extremely disappointing. Are National Parks a lower priority when compared to other government agencies?

For more details on what's in the NPS budget, you can click here to read the NPS press release.

Hiking in the Smokies

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