The Joint Committee on Finance met on April 22nd to consider budget provisions relating to a number of agencies, including the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Tourism, and Department of Transportation. Given the size of large agencies such as the DNR and DOT, the Committee will be taking up these agencies again in future meetings to consider other parts of their budgets.
Action taken by the Committee included requiring the DNR to work with stakeholders, including sportsmen and conservationists, to develop a plan to address the imbalance in the fish and wildlife account. Currently, the revenues coming into the fish and wildlife account are less than the needs of the programs that rely on this account for funding. The plan may include recommendations on program reductions or hunting and fishing license fee increases.
In another DNR related provision, the Committee provided funding in the budget to continue removing car-killed deer from state highways. This funding had been eliminated as part of the Governor’s budget. This provision also requires the DNR to develop recommendations on how to improve this program in the future.
The Committee will likely meet next during the week of May 4th. It is anticipated that updated revenue estimates will be available that week, which will help guide the Committee’s work.