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.

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.