Brown breaks silence on state parks fund debacle

  • Gov. Jerry Brown responds to a question concerning the plans to build a giant twin tunnel system to move water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to farmland and cities, at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, July 25, 2012. The Bay Delta Conversation Plan, is estimated to cost about $23.7 billion, with the $14 billion cost to build the giant tunnels paid by the water users, and $10 billion for habitat restoration.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown broke his silence Wednesday on the discovery of hidden money at California's cash-strapped state parks department.

The Democratic governor downplayed the scandal, saying it was the first time he's seen government get in trouble for saving money.

"When somebody comes and says, 'Hey, guess what, we have some money over here,' that's better than saying, 'Whoops we don't have the money,'" he said.

Nonprofit groups were blindsided last week by reports that state parks accounts hold $53 million more than was previously disclosed, even as they raised money to keep 70 state parks open past a July 1 closure deadline.

Brown quipped at an unrelated news conference Wednesday that "more money is better than less money." But he also said the state will look into the secret parks money and at all special funds.

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