Can California afford to buy Neverland Ranch?

A California lawmaker wants to turn Neverland Ranch, the former home of pop music superstar Michael Jackson into a state park.

Assemblyman Mike Davis says that once the state legislature meets again in August he'll push for a study of the possibility for the 2,500-acre Santa Barbara County property.

The King of Pop, who died June 25, 2009, signed over Neverland to the private equity firm Colony Capital LLC in return for $35 million after Jackson almost lost the ranch to foreclosure in 2008. Jackson hadn't lived at the ranch since 2005 -- after his acquittal on child molestation charges -- preferring to live in Bahrain, Ireland and Las Vegas before renting a home in Holmby Hills, Southern California. Neverland is now co-owned by Colony Capital and the Jackson family.

But with California facing a $19 billion deficit, the state is looking to get rid of land, not buy more. Our colleagues at Luxist say California even has a ballot question that would allow a $18 surcharge on vehicle license fees to help support state parks.

But Davis sees Neverland Ranch as an opportunity for a new tourist attraction, telling The Los Angeles Times that "it will absolutely be a destination for many who admire music and the performing arts."

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