Legislators from around the State are converging on Olympia today for the start of yet another special session. The Governor called this Special Session to have the legislature fill a budget hole in the neighborhood of $2 billion dollars. She is hoping to resolve this problem through a series of cuts and by a temporary .5 percent increase in the State’s sales tax that would go to a vote of the people in March of 2012.
The Governor also released her 2012 Supplemental Budget proposal last week. One of her budget solutions is to use license fee revenue generated from anglers and hunters to help backfill several proposed cuts to hatcheries that primarily benefit commercial fishing interests. This also allows her to use State General Fund revenue to rescue from the chopping block a Grays Harbor Gillnet Fishery that actually costs the State more to monitor and administer than it produces in actual revenue. No this is not a typo…Cost is $382,679 and net revenue is $180,000. Now I am no economists, but there is something seriously wrong with this picture. No wonder the State is in trouble….At a time when we should be looking to eliminate failing programs, we are rushing out to save them. Why not just write these guys a check for $180,000, we would still be $200,000 in the black! The Grays Harbor gillnet fishery should be one of the first things to go….This is just wrong and we should be calling them out on it!!!
In other news, WAPAC was part of a group that met with Attorney General and candidate for Governor Rob McKenna. The point of the meeting was to discuss issues that are critical to conservation and recreational angling. Mr. McKenna was very receptive to what we had to say and asked quite a few questions on topics ranging from selective fishing to the economics of sportfishing in the State of Washington. The WACPAC looks forward to visiting with many other candidates as we near next year’s crucial election.