Jim Zeigler pushing constitutional amendment to prevent “raid” of state parks funds

State Auditor Jim Zeigler

State Auditor Jim Zeigler may occupy the executive branch, but that isn’t stopping him from getting involved in his favored issues during Alabama’s ongoing Legislative Session in Montgomery.

Zeigler released a statement Monday night declaring his support for SB 260, a bill that would “stop the raiding of state parks revenues to fund other programs,” as Zeigler put it.

Specifically the bill – sponsored by Republican Sen. Clay Scofield – would call for an amendment to the state constitution that would require revenues earned by the parks to stay in the parks’ operating budget.

In recent years, state budget writers and Gov. Robert Bentley have chosen to close nearly half a dozen parks and reduce services in others, despite the parks’ general solvency. Funds from the parks have sometimes gone to subsidize other priorities through the Legislature’s general revenue fund.

State parks have long been a priority for Zeigler. He recently accused the Bentley administration of mismanaging the parks system and using it as a cudgel against conservatives.

“SB 260 is the first step in my plan for the state parks,” said Zeigler. “The parks internally generate around 85 percent of the money needed to operate. With tweaking, the parks can be self-funding, using NO tax dollars — requiring no money from the financially-strapped general fund. The Bentley administration would no longer be able to use the state parks as a political football, threatening closures if tax increases are not passed.”


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