Did you ever wonder how much revenue WDFW makes from fines or licenses? I decided to see if I could find this information. After all, it should be public information, right? It turns out that I had to estimate what the Washington public spends on fine and forfeitures using several sources, I simply could not find this anywhere. As for the licenses, the WDFW tells us how much we spend.
Let’s get started ….
WDFW’s Operating Budget
I started by looking at the WDFW’s public budget webpage. Here, it appears the WDFW’s operating budget is made up of six revenue sources: 1) the State General Fund, 2) the State Wildlife Account, 3) Federal Funding, 4) Local Funding, 5) Other Funds, 6) Limited Fish and Wildlife. But even when you do a click down into the 300+ page budget pdf you still cannot find how much revenue the WDFW takes in for fines or licenses.
Next, I went to the WDFW’s Budget FAQ page and here I found some good information on how much we anglers (and hunters) pay for our licenses per year………
How Much Do Hunters Contribute to the WDFW’s Operating Budget?
According to the WDFW’s Budget Frequently Asked Questions page, “there are roughly 190,000 hunters in Washington state who purchase around 225,000 licenses each fiscal year, generating $41.5M in revenue for the agency for the 2019-21 biennium”. Since this is biennium (for two years), lets cut that in half; $20,750,000.
How Much Do Anglers Contribute to the WDFW’s Operating Budget?
According to the WDFW’s Budget Frequently Asked Questions page, “There are roughly 854,000 anglers in Washington state who purchase around 963,000 licenses each year. This generated $55.9M in revenue for the agency in the 2019-21 biennium. Since this is biennium (for two years), lets cut that in half; $27,950,000.
Next I found a four page WDFW publication that helped me understand the WDFW budget categories:
- State General Fund – Revenues derived from state tax dollars
- State Wildlife Account – Funds generated by fishing and hunting license fees, fines and forfeitures
- Federal Funding – Grants received from federal agencies
- Local Funding – Revenues derived from providing services to local governments
- Other Funds – State funding from accounts dedicated to specific activities, such as oil-spill response and regional fisheries development
State Wildlife Account
As you can imagine, I focused in on the State Wildlife Account, where WDFW defines it this way, “Funds generated by fishing and hunting license fees, fines and forfeitures“.
Next, I came across the Washington State Office of Financial Management for the 2019-21 Governor’s proposed budget, which allows us to see much more budget detail.
According to the Washington State Office of Financial Management the 2019-21 Governor’s proposed budget estimated $117,751,000 for “State Wildlife Account” budget line item. Since this is biennium, lets cut that in half; $58,875,500 million.
Doing the Math – Fines and Forfeitures
So here’s what we have…..
I hope you were able to follow my logic on this one. It’s too bad the WDFW doesn’t just publish this stuff for the public to clearly see. The WDFW is welcome to correct me if I got it wrong. I would be happy to post it.
Hook ’em Deep!