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California will not pay to reopen Yosemite, other national sites closed by shutdown

Citing California's own precarious financial position, officials said Thursday that the state would not spend its own money to reopen national parks closed by the federal government shutdown.

Earlier Thursday, the Department of Interior said states were welcome to pay federal salaries to reopen national parks, such as Yosemite, that have been closed by the federal budget stalemate. But H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the California Department of Finance, said the state is in no position to do that.

The state's budget already has been affected by the federal shutdown, which has cut off numerous revenue sources for government operations and undermined local taxes generated by tourists drawn to the national parks.

“When we passed the budget in June, it was balanced by a very narrow margin,” Palmer said. “There are a number of risks to that budget that could move it in the wrong direction.”

In addition, he said, even if the state spent its own money to reopen national parks, there is no guarantee it would be reimbursed by the federal government.

“It's just unfortunate, because the communities around the national parks in California ... are feeling an immediate impact in things like canceled reservations,” Palmer said.

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