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New Opportunities for State Fish and Wildlife Agency Funding Matt Hogan, Executive Director Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.

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Presentation on theme: "New Opportunities for State Fish and Wildlife Agency Funding Matt Hogan, Executive Director Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies."— Presentation transcript:

1 New Opportunities for State Fish and Wildlife Agency Funding Matt Hogan, Executive Director Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

2 2 Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies The Voice of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Represents all of North America’s fish & wildlife agencies Works for the state agency directors Promotes sound management and conservation A unified voice representing state interests on important fish and wildlife issues since 1902

3 3 Thanks to sportsmen… A Legacy of Success Sportsmen’s license fees and excise taxes provide more than two thirds of wildlife agency funding These fees have funded the recovery of many game species Game habitat restoration benefits more than just game species. Sportsmen have been proud to lead the way, but all Americans who enjoy wildlife have benefited

4 4 Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Viewing An economic engine for state economies… $108 billion in consumer spending If a single company would rank 7 th on Fortune 500 More than $5 billion in tax revenues returned to the states But little is returned to state wildlife agencies… Less than $300 million in general funds and dedicated state taxes nationwide

5 5 Wildlife-Related Recreation in Michigan $2,753,176,000 in consumer spending 50,795 jobs $279,800,000 in tax revenues Only about 2% of those revenues go back into fish & wildlife

6 6 Seeking Broader Agency Funding For too long, sportsmen have paid all the bills for wildlife conservation actions that benefit all Americans  The Teaming with Wildlife Coalition of nearly 5,000 organizations and businesses nationwide  Seeking federal and state funding from all Americans to conserve all wildlife in every state

7 7 State Wildlife Grants Established in 2000 due to the efforts of Teaming with Wildlife $400 million in new federal funding for on-the-ground conservation Over $10 million for Michigan DNR With limited general funds, many state wildlife agencies have struggled to find matching $$$ Required and funded state wildlife action plans

8 8 Recently completed by every state wildlife agency, working together with sportsmen and other conservationists Practical actions to conserve wildlife and natural places before they become more rare and more costly to protect Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan is a role model for the nation, providing a strategic vision for conserving both game and non-game wildlife State Wildlife Action Plans

9 9 The Michigan Wildlife Action Plan A Platform For Increased DNR Funding “The Michigan Wildlife Action Plan is a major step in the journey to preserve our outdoor heritage. It will require a broad partnership of all, contributing their unique knowledge and skills to accomplish this task. This action plan provides the framework from which to build that partnership.” -Jennifer M. Granholm Governor of Michigan

10 10 Why Use the Action Plan to Seek Funding? Persuasive statement of need Demonstrated public support Poll-tested messaging An established coalition Strongly Favor 46% Somewhat Favor 34% Somewhat Oppose 8% Strongly Oppose 8% Don't Know 4% Total Favor80% Total Oppose17%* * Denotes Rounding Support for Wildlife Action Plans Among Voters Nationwide American Fisheries Society-Michigan Chapter Audubon Society of Kalamazoo Berrien County Sportsman's Club Bills Lake Improvement Association, Inc. Biodiversity Inc. Brooklyn Sportsman's Club Charlevoix Rod & Gun Club Chelsea Rod & Gun Club Chesaning Area Conservation Club Copper Country Audubon Club Detroit Audubon Society East Michigan Environmental Action Flat River Conservation Club, Inc. Fort Detroit German Wirehaired Pointer Club Frankenmuth Conservation Club …and 73 more!

11 11 State Funding Successes With the help of diverse coalitions, a handful of states have secured dedicated wildlife agency funding Missouri & Arkansas Conservation sales taxes Virginia & Texas Dedicating tax revenues from outdoor gear Colorado, Arizona & Maine Dedicated lottery revenues Florida & South Carolina Real estate transfer taxes

12 12 Conservation Sales Taxes Examples  Missouri Conservation Sales Tax: 1/8 cent, about $96 M/yr  Arkansas Conservation Sales Tax: 1/8 cent, about $22 M/yr Pros  Potential for large amounts of reliable, unrestricted funding  Generally permanent and extremely difficult to divert  Similar burden on urban vs. rural residents  Passed in Missouri and Arkansas with the help of reports defining wildlife needs—like Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan Cons  Passing a sales tax increase is extremely difficult and will require a powerful and dedicated coalition  Long campaign and tax increase likely to attract organized opposition State-Level Funding Source Examples

13 13 Dedicating Existing Sales Taxes on Outdoor Gear Examples  Virginia House Bill 38: about $10 M/yr, based on national survey  Texas Sporting Goods Sales Tax: up to $32 M/yr Pros  The “user-pays, user-benefits” concept is appealing to legislators  Generally can be passed with a simple legislation  Unlike a new excise tax, retailers support dedicating existing tax  Low administrative costs- Simple calculation based on “National Survey of Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife-Associated Recreation.” Cons  Not guaranteed; legislatures have appropriated less than promised: Texas capped revenue at $32m/yr and has diverted some to debt service Virginia has allocated fluctuating amounts under the $13m/yr cap  Allocated revenues and the mechanisms themselves must be defended every year State-Level Funding Source Examples

14 14 Dedicating Existing Real Estate Transfer Tax Examples  South Carolina Conservation Bank Act: about $10 M/yr  Florida Documentary Stamp Tax: about $36 M/yr Pros  Justified by link between development and habitat loss  Generally can be passed with a simple legislation  Large windfalls are possible in a hot real estate market Cons  Real estate industry opposition killed attempts to increase transfer tax in Georgia and South Carolina’s Senate—only diverting existing tax is feasible  Revenues can crash when property values fall or sales slow State-Level Funding Source Examples

15 15 Some First Steps Timing is never perfect… …get started now Consider a funding task force Build an effective coalition to take the lead Work with the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Conduct state-level polling and message development For legislative examples visit:

16 16 Working for You in Washington The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is working with the Teaming with Wildlife Coalition to seek increased and more reliable federal funding We’re seeking to expand State Wildlife Grants to include funding for wildlife-related recreation and conservation education WE NEED YOUR HELP. Join the Teaming with Wildlife Coalition today at:


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