Arizona legislators eye ways to keep parks open

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona legislators are casting about for ways to keep state parks open in the face of the state's budget troubles.

Ideas under consideration include a ballot measure to put a surcharge on all auto registration renewals to pay for parks and highway rest areas.

Others proposals would divert money from a constitutionally protected land conservation fund and encourage arrangements to have local governments operate some parks. And there's new talk about privatization proposals.

Since July, the Legislature has cut 61 percent of the parks system's $19.3 million budget.

The State Parks Board approved a rolling series of new park closures after the latest budget cuts were approved in December to reduce a midyear revenue shortfall.