Sportsmens Action Alert! Arizona Budget Cuts Effect The Heritage Fund

Sportsmens Action Alert! Arizona Budget Cuts Effect The Heritage Fund
Read Below For Important Information Impacting The Heritage Fund And Planned Budget Sweeps Affecting The Arizona Game &Amp; Fish Department
Call Your Legislators As Soon As Possible!

Arizona Elk Society
Arizona Elk Society

Arizona –-(AmmoLand.com)- On Tuesday, January 26th, the Arizona Game and Fish Department gave an hour and a half presentation on the governor’s proposed budget plan to the Wildlife Conservation Council. AES attends these meetings on behalf of our members.

The discussion reviewed the plan as it relates to the Game and Fish Department’s budget and how planned permanent budget cuts might affect the Department and Arizona’s wildlife communities.

Their basic take is that the plan proposes to sweep the Heritage Fund this year and next, making the sweeps permanent over future years. The plan also proposes removing voter protection of Wildlife Conservation Fund monies obtained through Indian Gaming proceeds.

Sportsman need to be aware of these proposals and talk to whomever we know about the sweeps and what the impacts to the Department may be. They are significant, looking to sweep $5 million dollars in the 2010 budget and up to $17 million (Heritage and WCF) in 2011 – a combined total cut of up to $22 Million over the next 18 months.

If the plan is approved as written, these cuts would become permanent, which would severely hinder a number of work activities the Department currently performs. What is truly concerning is these funds are not part of the General Funds generated through state taxes. The monies generated for the Heritage Fund and Wildlife Conservation Fund are voter approved funding sources for wildlife and habitat conservation in the state.

The Department is working with the governor’s office and legislators to advise them of the impacts to operations.

Unfortunately cuts seem inevitable, with the huge budget shortfall the state is looking at. The Game and Fish Department believes it has an obligation to update all of us on these potential cuts and have asked us to let sportsman know of these impacts as the plan moves forward. They see a tough fight coming and the impacts could be significant.

The numbers discussed represent a 23% reduction in the Department’s budget, potentially resulting in the loss of up to 90 employees or 14% of their workforce. Sportsman could either see fees increase drastically to offset the cuts or significant program reductions would have to take place. Additionally many rural economies could also see negative impacts resulting from these cuts, which are not presently being accounted for. The attached fact sheets describe some of these impacts and history of the funds involved.

Communication with your state representatives expressing your concerns over sweeping these funds is recommended.

Gov. Jan Brewer:
Telephone (602) 542-4331
Toll Free 1-(800) 253-0883
Fax (602) 542-1381

Arizona Senate:
(602) 926-3559 or toll-free 1-(800)-352-8404

Arizona House of Representatives:
(602) 926-4221 or toll-free 1-(800)-352-8404

Or Go To This Site To Find Your Legislator For Their Name, Email Or Fax: http://tiny.cc/OZcH4

About:
The mission of the Arizona Elk Society is to raise funds to benefit elk and other wildlife through habitat conservation and restoration and to preserve our hunting heritage for present and future generations. Visit: www.arizonaelksociety.org