Washington is broken. Arizona, like other states throughout the country, is bearing the burden. The crown jewel of the National Park System, Grand Canyon National Park, is closed. The New York Times reports that trip cancellations “are pouring in,” while hotels are offering refunds, tour groups are cancelled, and restaurants find themselves without customers.
The National Parks Conservation Association estimates that nearly $1.3 million per day is spent at Grand Canyon National Park during October. Every day the government is closed, the losses to our local businesses and workers become more severe.
During the last government shutdown, Arizona worked out a deal with the Department of the Interior to keep open the Grand Canyon National Park. At the end of the day, according to the Arizona Capitol Times, the federal government reimbursed the state for its out of pocket costs incurred in keeping the park open.
We do not know how long the shutdown will last. What we do know is that we can act decisively to cushion the impact on thousands of people in northern Arizona. If past is prologue, we can also be reasonably assured that the money we spend will be reimbursed. Even if not, we should realize that this tax money lost is gone forever, as thousands of Arizonans who rely on tourism continue to feel the squeeze.
That’s why I am calling on Governor Brewer to call the Legislature back into special session to examine ways to reopen the Grand Canyon for business. Washington may be broken. But in this case Arizona can live up to its reputation as a place where, working together, we can find solutions to our problems.
– Adam Kwasman represents District 11 in the Arizona House of Representatives.