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).
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.
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.