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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While discussing with friends ODFW’s budget woes and proposals to raise the total cost to fish by as much as 65% (to $59.75!), the question came up which I’ll summarize as follows:

When salmon fishing crashed in the early 1990's, including closures on ocean coho. ODFW was hit hard by declining tag sales. Now after three truly great seasons there should have been an increase in sales - a financial bonus. Did this not happen? Or does the increase in hatchery production costs far outstrip the additional revenue generated by the extra license sales?

Why does ODFW have a budget crisis whether license sales are up or down? Anyone know the answer?
 

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We all KNOW the answer. I can't say it here.........big brother is listening! :wink:
 

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This is the core problem with the whole state's budget. The rest of the world goes into a recession and Oregon tried to keep spending money at an increased rate every year. Now we are all suffering for it, and they keep trying to blame the taxpayers for being so tight with our hard earned $.

The reason ODFW is hurting is because the state's general money was wasted elsewhere.
 

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Just a guess here, but tag sales of course went up and brought in new revenue. That opened up opportunities for new projects and additional research opportunities that could potentially improve hatchery fish production and native fish success.

Then with the state budget cuts due to economic downturn the ODFW is faced with partially-complete projects that they don't want to cut. If they cut those incomplete projects the money invested is lost forever. They want to continue to fund them through completion so that they get something back for the money spent, as opposed to nothing back at all.

Again, that's just a guess, but a plausible one.
 

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two things happen here. one is that the money ends up in the general fund somehow,which gets eaten up by everything else. second, they spend there money on non-related issues. ONE example of this would be the steelhead hatchery on the mckensie river. they built a new section of road and beautiful car parking areas. this is wonderful for EXTRA money but did not improve the hatchery at all.the prudent man would have upgraded the hatchery first and if any money is left, it would be used for access improvements.this area has been the same for many years and everyone has been used to the way it was,which makes the access program low priority in comparison to needed equipment or manpower upgrades. if these statements step on someones toes, i appologize for that but this is how i see things and sometimes i just say what i feel. if we use our money wisely, we will have what we need.
 

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Garyk,

Why does ODFW have a budget crisis whether license sales are up or down? Anyone know the answer?
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">License fees don't cover the budget so the ODFW general fund portion of its budget keeps getting cut and it's short of money.

Maintenance has been deferred, salaries frozen, improvements and upgrades not done, staff not hired, etc. etc.

What is happening is that license fees are becoming a greater and greater portion of ODFW funding.

The NSIA, environmental groups and others spoke up about this problem at the recent fee increase hearings asking that a more stable funding source be created but considering the currrent budget crisis and the anti-government tone of the legislature, I wouldn't expect much progress.

We've got shortend school years and 50 kids per teacher in our schools. If they won't address that, fish and game issues are not likely to be resolved.

As for the ODFW budget, it would always be interesting where folks think those millons of "waste, fraud and abuse" are located.

It was amazing to me that many folks at the hearing didn't even realize that license fees only go to ODFW and not into the general fund. We had more than one person waste everyone's time complaining about a non-existent "problem".

Brion
 

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Coho Slayer, you are right on the money as far as I'm concerned. I'm soooo tired of government (state or local) wasting my/our money on needless expenditures. The parking lot improvement is a perfect example of this. Did it need to be repaired/improved? Yes, I'm sure it did but, was now the right time for this? As you stated, the money would have served a higher purpose if it were used to enhance the fishery itself. More fish means more fishermen. Which equates to us the public buying licenses, boats, tackle, and so on. I say step on more toes until the message is felt by all who make these irresponsible decisions. Thankyou, just my two cents... SPACE
 

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You got it right Geek- Once government is in place, it is tough to remove.

Many of the side projects I applaud. But the hatchery funding thing is political. Kitz wanted them shut down. So does Ted.

Get in them trenches and fight.

Mark and the dog.
 

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Director Ball, came on the job with a very large deficit(millions). He has turned it around and has stated that it will never happen again under his control. I think he is trying to do the right things. Lets give him a chance.
 

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Jerry,

I think Mr. Ball is doing a fine job. His boss may not have the same objectives as he (we) does. Maybe that is why the maintence got put off in the first place.

Mark and the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Brion, I disagree somewhat:

Following the slight 1991-92 economic downturn, Oregon's economy went on an unprecedented tear.

During those boom bienniums, when the General Fund was fat, ODFW had a budget crisis. The 'Blue Ribbon Panel was convened at Silver Falls State Park to look for funding solutions (a pretty mundane and unimaginative report was produced).

Now, the boom is over, ODFW's General Fund dollars get cut (which I understand represent 10% of the Fish Divisions budget?) and it's crisis time again.

Actually, it's always been crisis time at ODFW for at least the last five if not six or more bienniums. License sales up or down, general fund fat or thin, its' always a crisis.

Bottom line is, Lindsay Ball is a fine fellow, but if nobody can provide a satisfactory explanation - especially from ODFW - the public's never going to accept $60 fishing/tag fees.

So, anyone got a more refined explanation?
 

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GaryK

It is my understanding that ODFW income from fishing license and tag sales from 1990 to 2000 dropped 10 % each year from the previous year. This created a gradual sloping fiscal decline that was solved by creative bookkeeping by Mr. Ball’s predecessor. Fishing tag sales have improved in the last several years but there are indications that ODFW may have over sold eastern Oregon controlled elk and deer tags to make up for the fishing sales short fall. Now it looks as though the trend may be reversing with stronger fishing sales but much weaker controlled hunt and general season big game tag sales. In October of 2000 an independent management review of ODFW concluded that a more stabile funding source was needed if ODFW was to do the work that was needed. To date, no change has been made to my knowledge.

I believe that increases in fees will lead to reduced sales. I believe that many people in state government believe this as well but want to see ODFW financially crippled for various reasons.
It will be interesting to see what happens…
:wink:
 

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On top of its own financial quirks & troubles, ODFW has been faced with the same problem most other Oregon state agnecies have...ever increasing PERS costs. The money to pay for agency retirements comes right off the top...and in recent years there have been unforseen, unbudgeted, and significant PERS cost increases that have to be paid before anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks *** and GSA for that helpful information - I don't think those facts have been mentioned yet in the many related threads about this.

I didn't realize that ODFW uses a 'big bucket' budget system and mistakenly thought that fishing licenses sales supported the Fish Division and the same for the Game Division.

Not sure I can accept that alledged 10% yearly decline - the math doesn't seem to pencil out. (Ten years of 10% annual decline would put you at roughly ten percent of the beginning amount.)

When it's all said and done though, I don't see how you can ever manage an agency that has very significant, fairly constant, capital costs (hatchery operation and maintainance) using a financial plan that's dependant on what seems to be very erratic license revenue.
 

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GaryK

34.86784401% of the original sales are left if sales decrease by 10% of the previous year for 10 years, not 10% less each year of the original sales. The slope of decrease slows as you approach zero. ODFW has shown increases the last several years in fish related revenue, which would bring current rates to 50% to 60% of their previous highs, but I do not have firm numbers for the past two years. :wink:

They have not seen erratic until they pass these increases…
:shocked:

[ 05-07-2003, 01:24 PM: Message edited by: *** Clerk ]
 

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Garyk,

Bottom line is, Lindsay Ball is a fine fellow, but if nobody can provide a satisfactory explanation - especially from ODFW - the public's never going to accept $60 fishing/tag fees.
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">The "public", the 80%(?) of Oregonians who don't buy a fishing license probably have no problem with fishing license fees covering all ODFW fishing related expenses.

Frankly, schools, police, courts, sewer, roads, water, health care, housing, environment, jobs etc. all come ahead of sport fishing.

As for fishermen and hunters, I'd hope they understand the value of ODFW services to hunting and fishing and be willing to belly up to the bar to pay for it.

Considering my fishing expenses, $100 for a yearly fishing license would be about 2% of my yearly fishing costs and would not be too high.

With 3 yearly out of state fishing licenses I buy for the kids, my "costs" to "fund" ODFW are probably higher than most folks but the return, 7 months of great fishing with friends and family, is...excuse the cliche...priceless.

As for the ODFW budget and management. I've attended two hearings in Salem. I've listened to all the comments here and in other forums and I've yet to hear a single constructive analysis of ODFW's budget regarding the millions of "waste, fraud and abuse" by those who make those claims.

As for why the general public and by default the government they elect neglects ODFW budget, one only has to look at the comments here to see how shortsighted and disorganized the hunting and fishing supporters are to understand the political realities.

We couldn't even speak with a clear, coherent voice in Salem to support the fee increase. I'd guess that over half those speaking used the time to take potshots at other fishermen vs. addressing the issue. Jerry Dove and I disagree on a lot of stuff but Jerry didn't load down his testimony attacking his "siblings" and simply asked they raise the fee to fund ODFW.

When hunters and fishermen get smart and get organized, ODFW funding problems will disappear. I think it's that "simple".

Brion
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Brion - regarding the public not accepting a 65% increase.

You said - "The "public", the 80%(?) of Oregonians who don't buy a fishing license probably have no problem with fishing license fees covering all ODFW fishing related expenses."

I am referring to the 20% that do buy licenses - the 80% that do not purchase licenses are out of the equation.

As a former license vendor, who issued thousands each year, I can tell you the public noticed when the price was bumped up a buck or two, or a surcharge added. In fact many of them screamed - I hated those increase years; people moaning and griping like it was me personally reaching into their wallet.

I agree with ***'s parting shot about ODFW truly realizing 'erratic revenue' if there is an increase to $59.75.

Most folks on this board, you and me included, can accept this amount because we understand the reality, but we're not the 'general angling public'. Wait until Lars Larson starts pounding away that it now costs $60 to take your kid fishing.

No good will come of this plan, it creates a house-of-cards financial foundation for ODFW while pricing casual participants out of the activity - and in doing so, alienating them from supporting ODFW.

Anyway, getting a bit off-topic which was to better understand ODFW's decade-long financial crisis.

***'s stated long decline in license sales is something worth exploring: population growth, a rebound in fishing, strong economy - all were postitive factors so what was causing such a significant yearly decline?
 
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