Kerry Promises to Renew National Parks

At a campaign stop in Arizona’s Grand Canyon — wait, isn’t Arizona a swing state? — John Kerry pledged to renew America’s national park system, which he said the Bush administration has left “under stress.” Noting that Bush’s budget for next fiscal year contains less money for national parks than this year’s, he promised to immediately seek an extra $110 million to make up the difference. He also pledged to cover what he called the parks’ $600 million overall budget shortfall. Part of the money would come from his repeal of Bush’s tax cuts for folks making over $200,000 and part from revisions to an 1872 mining law that allows private companies to buy public land for $5 an acre. He said he would also consider pay-as-you-go options like higher admission prices or fees, but only as a last resort. A Bush campaign spokesperson accused Kerry of “playing politics” with the parks — and really, where does Kerry get off dragging politics into a presidential campaign?