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WDFW commission discussing funding, fee increase

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources, according to the agency's webpage. (WDFW / WDFW)
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources, according to the agency's webpage. (WDFW / WDFW)

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife commission meets yesterday in Olympia to discuss long-term funding options and a potential fee increase aimed at addressing an impending $30-million shortfall.

The commission will consider approving WDFW’s capital budget proposal and will review and discuss the 2019-21 operating budget requests.

The $30 million budget shortfall has three main causes. Funding via general-fund taxes and recreational license sales has not kept pace with costs; a one-time funding fix approved by the Legislature in 2017 expires in June 2019; and the department is still recovering from budget cuts from the Great Recession.

One proposed fee increase would result in a 12 to 15 percent “across-the-board increase on all license products.” That would be the first increase to license fees since 2011.

The WDFW staff has also proposed an annual $10 fee charged to WDFW customers with a $3 fee charged for temporary license holders. However, overall the proposed budget would draw more money from the state’s general fund.

The commission meeting will end Saturday.

To see the full agenda wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2018/08/agenda_aug0918.html.