House Budget Bill Keeps WDFW Its Own Agency

I had to call up WDFW’s legislative analyst to make sure mine own eyes weren’t deceiving me when I downloaded the ins and outs of HB 1087, but the state House budget bill passed last weekend does not call for consolidating the fish and game agency with State Parks.

“It looks like it’s off the table as far as the House budget,” says Ann Larson, WDFW’s legislative liason.

She quickly notes that we’ll see what the state Senate’s appropriations bill proposes when it’s rolled out this week.

The Senate is the chamber where SB 5669 was filed at Governor Gregoire’s request. It merges WDFW, State Parks and the Recreation and Conservation Office into a Department of Fish, Wildlife & Recreation. We’ve written a wee bit about it.

The House and Senate budgets have to be reconciled before being sent to Gregoire.

As it stands, the House budget — which identifies $4.4 billion in cuts to address a $5-plus billion revenue shortfall — would provide $370 million for WDFW over the next two years, including $36 million from the General Fund in fiscal year 2012 and $34 million in fiscal year 2013. That tallies about $6 million less from the General Fund than the 2009-11 budget provided.

The budget bill was passed on a 53-43 vote.

Stay tuned.

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