Vermont Sportsmen - your calls, emails and letters urgently needed to legislators. The Governor has proposed cutting 6 positions at the Fish and Wildlife Dept. on top of positions (like my old HE training coordinator slot) that are already gone. Legislators need to hear from you - if we don't stand up for wildlife - who will?
Don't wait - they will be voting very soon.
Following is what I wrote to my Lamoille Co reps:
Dear Representative (Senator),
I'm writing to urge you to oppose the Governor's proposed cuts in positions at The Fish and Wildlife Department. I understand the need to save general fund money during these tough times. However, there is no savings to be had with the proposed cuts in fish and wildlife. I know you are well aware that fish and wildlife is serious business in Vermont. Sportsmen and conservationists need a strong partner with the state. Even without these possible cuts nearly 3 million federal dollars have been left unclaimed in the last few years due to under staffing.
Of these 6 targeted positions, only one relies on general fund money for 25% ($17,500) of the total cost of the position. The remaining five positions have been 100% funded through federal monies and hunting/fishing license sales. The Department currently has adequate federal/license dollars to support all of these positions, including retirement and future health care costs. In fact, it will actually cost the general fund $18,000.00 more dollars to cut these positions than it would to keep them. (see attachment for more details)
I know you need to find ways to save state money or find new money. It does not mean going along with a Governor who appears to be playing politics with employee numbers, which in this case do not save money, but will cost money. I suggest temporarily cutting the general fund allotment to Fish and Wildlife rather than cutting positions. Better
yet would be a slight increase in the sales tax of 1/8th of 1-cent dedicated to the Fish and Wildlife Department as advocated by the VT Wildlife Partnership. This additional money could be then leveraged for millions of federal wildlife dollars.
Thanks for listening,