The Governor released his recommended budget for ODFW on Dec 1, 2015. The Governor’s proposal, outlined in Senate Bill 5511, will be considered by the 2015 Legislative Assembly. An overview (pdf) of the Governor’s Budget for our department is below and includes related legislative concepts.
The Governor’s proposed budget reflects the importance Oregonians place on healthy fish, wildlife and habitat. The proposed budget includes a significant increase in General Fund to support fish and wildlife management which benefits everyone – not just hunters and anglers. These costs have been primarily paid by license fees and federal funds. The Governor’s budget also provides $5.1-million in General Fund to Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife in recognition of the role troopers play in ensuring the safety of all Oregonians.
The department projected a significant gap between expenses and revenues in 2015-17 and developed a proposal that focused on reducing costs and increasing revenue. To address revenue shortfalls, the department proposed to cut programs and to reduce costs through increased efficiencies. To increase revenue, the department proposed adjustments to recreational license and tags (pdf), commercial fish fees (pdf), occupational and miscellaneous fees (pdf), and to create new license types (pdf). The budget proposal also requested general tax dollars for law enforcement and specific ODFW programs that benefit all Oregonians. These costs have been primarily paid by license fees.
The department developed its 2015-17 budget proposal through an extensive public process involving stakeholders, customers, Commissioners, and the Governor’s Office. The department met regularly with stakeholder representatives on its External Budget Advisory Committee (EBAC) (pdf) to develop the budget proposal. EBAC includes representatives of sports groups, industry and other interested parties and provides valuable input on the department budget. Public input was gathered at a series of Town Hall meetings throughout the state and through written comments submitted to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. The Commission approved the Agency Requested Budget (ARB) on August 1, 2014. The Governor incorporated many of the agency recommendations into Senate Bill 5511 which will be considered by the 2015 Legislature.