Colleagues, partners, associates and supporters,
Many of you have been asking me about the impact to the Department with respect to the Heritage Fund. As you know, the state of Arizona faces a formidable budget deficit, and options to balance the budget are becoming more limited.
The Governor’s office released a budget plan earlier this year that proposes to permanently eliminate the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s voter-approved $10 million Heritage Fund and redirect all Arizona State Lottery revenue to the state’s general fund. That proposal has been sent for consideration by the Legislature.
Adoption of this proposal would have significant impacts not just to wildlife and outdoor recreationists, but ripple effects extending to Arizona’s land use and growth that is going to be vital for the state’s economic recovery and future wellbeing.
Game and Fish is one of the few state agencies that operates as a business-based on a “user pay/user benefit” model and poses no burden to the taxpayers. While the Department recognizes that the Governor and Legislature must consider all options, it is our duty and statutory responsibility to ensure that our customers — those who have supported our agency in its mission to conserve Arizona’s wildlife and provide outdoor recreation opportunities — are aware of the impacts that this loss of funding would have on them.
Passed in 1990 by an overwhelming 2-1 bi-partisan vote, the Heritage Fund provides essential funding for conserving Arizona’s wildlife and is one of the Department’s primary funding sources. The Heritage Fund makes a difference in communities across Arizona and benefits all citizens.
We are providing information [on our Web site and via other communications] to inform and educate our constituents on what the loss of the Heritage Fund might mean to them and to Arizona.
Arizona Game & Fish Department
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