Thursday, January 15, 2009

Time to get serious abut wildlife funding


Please take a minute and read Roy's piece published in the 1/14 edition of the Rutland Herald. Roy is the President of the VT Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs and on the steering committee of the VT Wildlife Partnership.

After you read it I hope you will join me and other serious sportsmen/conservationists and talk to your local legislators about continuing equitable support for the wildlife we love and the agency that makes sure the critters stay healthy - the VT Fish and Wildlife Dept. The division that is getting hit the hardest are the local Game Wardens. Before the latest Douglas Administration budget cuts, there were fewer Wardens than in 1971, and with the latest cuts it's going to get a lot worse.
In the last 2 1/2 years the Department has been forced to leave nearly $4 million dollars unclaimed because they did not have the state money to match the Federal dollars that we were eligible to collect. One dollar would have meant 3 additional federal dollars! Where else can you get a return on your money like that. Even the crooks on Wall St weren't doing that well.
As you can tell I'm not happy that our government is throwing desperately need money away at a time of economic free fall and climate warming stress on the environment and our wildlife.
Read and weep - then get on the phone and let Douglas and your representative and senators know what you think. Don't let them soft talk you with the old milk for babies or browse for Bambi argument. The FWD is one of the few entities in state government that makes money - 82% of their budget, but also generates nearly $29 million in sales and rooms and meals tax for the general fund. What do they get back to invest in the resource? $2.1 million budgeted, minus $800,000 already cut and more coming unless we tell them no. NO more cuts this fiscal and get going on long term, fair funding for the Department as suggested by the 2007 Legislative funding committee and advocated by the VT Wildlife Partnership.

Time to get serious about wildlife

These are extraordinarily difficult economic times. On that, all Vermonters agree. Published: January 14, 2009 ( 0)
http://www.rutlandherald.com/section/OPINION03

For more on the long term solution go to http://www.vermontwildlifepartnership.org/

3 comments:

  1. Eric, I thought this was a particularly interesting post, especially given the loss of the federal matching funds. Hard to know what level of political pressure can change the situation in the short term, though. tough, tough situation.
    Jim

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  2. Jim,
    I think we need to keep the pressure on so when the economy starts to turn the politicians will act. As far as the federal aid money it seems like they can frame it as an economic stimulus, dig up the state match money and go do good things with it to help the economy. I'm sure we don't have any state funds invested that return 300%!
    The Burlington Free Press just printed Roy's letter on Sat. http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009901240304

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