Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Reviewing Budget, Planning to Cut Some Services

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission plans to get more involved in the federal budget process to help close a $30-million budget gap on their side.

A report presented to the commissioner earlier this month highlights a 2017-2019 Budget Problem Statement, which shows that hunting and fishing license revenue is not keeping pace with appropriations and that expenses continue to outpace revenue in the non-restricted State Wildlife Account.

When they enacted the 2017-19 biennial operating budget, state lawmakers directed WDFW to complete three tasks to improve the Department’s long-term financial stability and operational efficiency:

  • Develop a long-term plan to balance projected expenses and revenues by providing prioritized options for spending reductions and revenue increases.
    * Identify and implement management improvements and operating efficiencies.
  • Conduct a “zero-based budget review” to accompany the Department’s proposed 2019- 21 operating budget.
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Since the April Commission meeting:

  • The Department developed a carry-forward level budget for 2019-21. The overall budget problem statement is $33M for 2019-21; that is, if there is no new funding appropriated, the Department would need to cut $33M of services. The Department identified $2.8M in activities that will cease in SFY2019, and thus reduced the size of the overall problem statement to $30M.
  • The Department developed draft decision packages to stabilize funding for 2019-21 as well as identified requests for strategic enhancements.
  • The Department has met with the Budget and Policy Advisory Group on May 2 and June 13.

They have nearly completed their findings and recommendations that will be included in the Long-Term Funding Plan, and have provided early guidance to the Department’s draft budget decision packages.