Monday, June 05, 2006

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Abusing User Fees

The Legislative Audit Bureau has completed its review of Fish and Wildlife funding at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. An initial review of the summary of the audit is not encouraging.

Amazingly, the DNR’s accounting system does not link revenues from user fees, including the different types of hunting and fishing licenses, to particular expenditures.

This is why hunters and anglers have been skeptical of the DNR. Many of us contend the DNR uses our fees to fund and staff a liberal environmental activist agenda.

Jim Doyle's DNR is so woefully managed that the Audit Bureau had to undertake significant audit steps to categorize expenditures according to their purpose and primary beneficiaries.

What the Audit Bureau uncovered is alarming.

Only 57.3 percent of user fee–funded expenditures in FY 2004-05 were spent primarily for the benefit of those who provided those fees.

The audit “
also found that 2.4 percent of the $68.2 million in user fees expended in that year, or $1.6 million, did not directly benefit hunters and anglers.”

And a whopping
11.1 percent went to administrative costs (read feeding the bureaucracy).

That’s right:

User fees funded $7.5 million of DNR’s administrative costs at the department and division levels in FY 2004-05 and represented 11.1 percent of all user fee–funded expenditures.
Meanwhile, the Fish and Wildlife account is in a sad state:
To assess the financial condition of the Fish and Wildlife Account, we examined its year-end balance from FY 2000-01 through FY 2004-05. We found that expenditures exceeded revenues each year, and the account’s ending balance declined significantly.
This audit will be spun thusly:

Contrary to complaints of many legislative Republicans, a new audit found that more than 96 percent of hunters’ and anglers’ user fees are being spent for their intended purposes.

That’s bunk.

11 percent of our fees are being used to feed the bloated DNR bureaucracy and only 57.3 percent of our fees are being used on projects that primarily benefit those of us who provide these fees.

Mark Green is right. It is time to
split the DNR.


At 2:12 PM, grumps said...

I may be confused. You call eleven cents on the dollar for administration "bloated" and then call for lowering administrative costs by creating a new bureaucracy?

Have you thought this through?

Eleven percent for administration seems mighty low. How does that compare to other agencies and to private groups. Eleven percent sounds like high-value to me.

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous said...

11% is unheard-of low.

Also, Fraley is creating 2 bureaucracies cheaper than 1?


At 3:25 PM, Anonymous said...

As a hunter and fisherman, the truth now comes out.
The DNR has no control over it's budget since it cannot even track the whereabouts of my money.
I do not want my money being spent on picking weeds and trimming trees.
I not only expect, but demand that we investigate why this has not been rectified since the 1998 Audit.
Did'nt the audit commitee say that the DNR describes and tracks administrative expenses different from other agencies of our government?
You have to be a total nut job to believe that they only had 11% administrative expenses, when the report shows so many discrepencies in their accounting practices and failures in methodology.
Investigate and split!

At 3:35 PM, Anonymous said...

We have a right to be outraged.

The DNR lies on it's webpage when it says:

Hunters and anglers can have confidence that license money is not used to offset the state’s general tax deficit or used by the DNR for any other purpose.

At 3:38 PM, chico said...

This would also appear to be a big fat lie.

7.6 cents. or 11 cents?

We can't trust the current DNR. It's bloated and suffering from mission creep. Hunters and Fishermen and women deserve their own wildlife agency.

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous said...

Whay do fishermen/hunters have some "right" to have user/license fees used only for what they want?

I may be missing something.

At 7:13 AM, Anonymous said...

Responses to Responses;

Businesses (non-gov) rarely exceed 6% admin costs. This is Government at it's worst.

18% on more land? $22,102.990? They can't manage what they have now. They don't do sustainable logging, don't control invasives, and limit public use, if you can find it. And they regularly pay more than the property is accesed at to beat out other legitimate ad sometimes non-legitimate offers.
Land Purchase Moratorium is in order till they fix what they have.
Audit Bureau should ask how much the budget director is cleverly re-directing into envrionmental programs which have no revenue stream of their own under.
Oh! thats right, George Meyer once quiped he could divert F&W dollars into air programs because duck fly in the air........:)

At 10:28 AM, Anonymous said...

Do we have a right to have our money spent on our activities?
Damn rihgt we do and it's time that we bring the gavel down to insure that this happens.
We are tired of paying for bicycle trails and flowers for parks.
I run a small business and I expect that everything be accounted for.
It's time to assess user fees to bikes, wolf watchers, squirrel feeders and loon listeners.
We just don't pay user fees, we spend hundreds of millions on equipment and donations to other non-profits that help promote the hunting and fishing tradition.
The next time you question if we have a right to expect our dollars be used for our activities, remember that everyonre behind you at the grocery store gets to use your money to buy their groceries.
It's time to buck up baby!


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