The VT state budget has passed and sent to the Governor for his promised veto. The question is how did the Fish and Wildlife Department fair?
It looks to me like the personnel issue was not fixed. Positions already eliminated like my old job the Hunter Ed Training Coordinator and the 5 new ones are still gone or going. This means more federal money will be left on the table in DC and much needed work such as a meaningful range program will not happen. Bad news for sportsmen and shooters.
The VT Wildlife Partnership worked hard to restore these positions but to no avail. Broad based, sustainable funding also did not emerge. We had agreement from some key lawmakers to include 1/8 of one cent on the sales tax for FWD, but as far as I can see it did not happen.
On the positive side, there is over a million dollars in general fund money in the budget for FWD. This is down from 2 years ago and about the same as what they got last year after cuts. This shows continued support by the legislature and Governor for what FWD does for non-license buyers in VT, but still underfunds them to a huge degree.
So it looks like back to the drawing board for Dept staffing and funding. We all knew it would be a long haul. I'm prediting if we keep the pressure on and keep at it we will prevail in 3 years.
From H441 (Budget bill) funding for Fish and Wildlife Department:
Sec. B.705 Fish and wildlife - support and field services
Personal services 12,337,985
Operating expenses 4,482,575
Source of funds
General fund 1,127,419
Fish and wildlife fund 16,230,474
Interdepartmental transfers 237,000
Sec. B.706 Fish and wildlife - watershed improvement
Source of funds
Fish and wildlife fund 125,000
To see H 441 click here