12.30.2008

The 42 percent solution

Woah. Over in New Hampshire, and other coastal states, the impending salt-water fishing license is starting to rile the troops.

We don't have no stinkin' saltwater here in the Green Mountains, but we thought we had a way to kinda/sorta help fund our cash-strapped Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. For the last few years, Gov. Jim Douglas has spearheaded an effort to assist the department with a pretty good chunk straight from the General Fund.

But what the governor giveth, the governor also taketh away, something that was chronicled early in the fall.

And now we've got some even harder numbers: What was once a $2.1 million General Fund appropriation to Fish & Wildlife has been chopped down to $1.1 million which means things like improvements at fish hatcheries won't happen, some positions won't be filled, items like the annual wildlife calendar won't be produced, amphibian and reptile surveys won't be completed and new vehicles for wardens won't be purchased.

Yeah, times are tough and every department is getting whacked, but a 42 percent decrease in the amount of General Fund money to Fish & Wildlife?

The heck with a Great Lake designation, Maybe, to fund our fish and wildlife department better, we need to get Lake Champlain declared an ocean.

- MC

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