ON WDF&W's BUDGET

ON WDF&W's BUDGET

Now this does not need much of a explanation! Interesting reading as hard ball time comes to the budget for all agencies.

 

 

From: Unsworth, James W (DFW)
Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2015 9:21 AM
Subject: Budget Message

 

To WDFW staff:

 

If you have been following the Legislature’s budget deliberations, you know that we continue to be seriously concerned about the House and Senate’s proposed WDFW operating budgets for 2015-17.

 

Yesterday, we sent the attached document to the Legislature’s budget-writers to reinforce the point that both proposed budgets would leave WDFW in an extremely difficult position. Without additional revenue, both budgets would require us to reduce our current recreational and commercial fishing opportunities, reduce our enforcement capacity and impact service delivery across a number of other functional areas. The focus of the problem is the non-restricted portion of the State Wildlife Account; neither the House nor Senate provided enough revenue for that account to fully cover the spending called for during 2015-17.

 

Page 1 of the attached handout shows a high-level summary of the problem and identifies options for closing the gap. Page 2 has a list of potential reductions and new unfunded requirements. We are compelled to let lawmakers know what’s at-risk if we are forced to make yet another round of cuts.

 

Naturally, we all hope to avoid reductions.  But we want to assure you that no decisions will be made about funding reductions for specific programs or activities until after the Legislature completes its deliberations.

 

As many of you know, we had anticipated the mismatch between revenue and spending authority last fall, and we drafted legislation to increase recreational and commercial fishing license fees to cover the shortfall anticipated at the time. However, the bill did not receive support in either the House or Senate.

Since then a significant number of new costs were introduced by the Governor and legislature which have been added to our budget challenge.

 

When faced with a large revenue shortfall during the 2009-11 biennium, we received temporary authority for a license fee surcharge to get us through the biennium without damaging reductions to State Wildlife Account spending. With that in mind, we have offered the Legislature two surcharge options for the 2015-17 biennium: 1) a straight-across 13% surcharge on all fishing and hunting licenses; and 2) targeted surcharges (22% on fishing licenses, and 6% on hunting licenses) that recognize that much of the funding shortfall would affect Fish Program activities.

 

We are aggressively informing legislators, stakeholders, labor unions and the media about our growing concerns.  As I said earlier, we want you to be aware of the situation and we will work hard to keep you informed.  If you have questions or concerns feel free to contact me, Joe Stohr or other Executive Management Team members.

 

Jim Unsworth

 

 

 

 

 

 

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