DNREach year, it’s the same order of events. The January State of the State address outlines the Governor’s priorities for the legislature and the budget for the coming year. In February, we move on to budget talks, kicked off by a Joint House and Senate Appropriations meeting where the Governor will outline his proposal for the next fiscal year’s budget, which starts October 1.
So what’s on tap for this year? Unfortunately, there is a budget shortfall that will have to be dealt with this year. For the programs we all support, how they will be impacted remains to be seen.
As for Game and Fish funded programs, there is about $5 million less than expected in the projected revenue from the license fee restructuring for 2015. While there is still about $13 million MORE than back in 2013, it still means we won’t get to see all the habitat going on the ground that we had hoped to see. As members of the Conservation Coalition, we expect to be part of the conversation about what work gets prioritized with that $13 million in new money and have a meeting this week to discuss it with the DNR.
But the big cuts will come from General Fund/General Purpose-funded line items, of which there are fewer in the DNR budget. The DNR only gets about 0.3-0.4% of the revenue the State of Michigan takes in from the general taxpayer. Still that adds up to more than $48 million.
So what could be on the chopping block for this year and possibly next? According to today’s Detroit Free Press article

“Snyder didn’t ask each department to cut a certain percentage from their budgets, instead asking each to provide a list of programs they were prepared to put on the chopping block, officials said.
Snyder’s budget will be accompanied by an executive reduction order spelling out detailed cuts, department by department, for the current fiscal year.”

It will be interesting to see what the DNR has offered.

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