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Print

Quinn’s budget cuts DNR 13 percent

February 22, 2012 at 03:18 PM

Prairie State Outdoors

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will absorb a 13 percent budget cut in Fiscal 2013 if the budget proposed by Gov. Pat Quinn becomes law.

Quinn unveiled his proposed budget during an address before the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday.

DNR’s total proposed budget is just over $217 million, down from $251 million in the current fiscal year. DNR’s budget in 2011 was about $289 million.

The number of employees is expected to decline another three percent to 1,150 in fiscal 2013.

DNR’s share of general tax revenue continues to decline from $61.5 million in fiscal 2011 to a proposed $45.3 is fiscal 2013.

The state’s fiscal year begins July 1.

As available general revenue funds declined, DNR turned to special state funds, like the Wildlife and Fish Fund, where revenue from licenses and fees is deposited.

Special fund use grew from $158.3 million in 2011 to $168.7 million in 2012. Quinn’s budget appropriates $148.2 million.

DNR director Marc Miller has said recently that DNR special fund balances are being drawn down and some could drop below zero.

Calling his budget a “rendezvous with reality,” Quinn said Illinois elected officials have for too many years “clung to budget fantasies instead of facing hard realities.”

The budget address centered on the decades-long problem of underfunded pensions and the restructuring of Medicaid, which serves 2.7 million people in Illinois – about one out of five the state’s 12.9 million citizens.

Quinn proposed closing more than a dozen state facilities including some prisons, but DNR spokesman Chris McCloud said no closures or reduced hours are planned at the state’s 324 parks, fish, wildlife and natural areas.

DNR said its sites receive 45 million visits each year.

The training of 15 new Conservation Police Officers is still planned, although cuts to the urban fishing program, DNR’s presence in Conservation World and waterfowl programs are possible.

The agency will cease publication of its Outdoor Illinois magazine following the March issue.

Chris Young can be reached at (217) 788-1528.

Related stories

Outdoor Illinois magazine to publish final issue

Struggling to make up a budget shortfall of $5.7 million this fiscal year, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will discontinue publication of its Outdoors Illinois magazine after the March issue. Updated with additional history of the Dept. of Conservation's attempts to create a magazine.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I am very glad to hear no state parks will be closed !

I also hope that hunter & fisherman’s license, stamps & permit fees, will NOT be increased AGAIN !!!

It is well past time that our IDNR finally makes everyone pay their fair share & implements some kind of park user fee. They have been saying they were going to do this for several years now but…..they only keep increasing fees on us outdoors who have already been paying, more then our fair share.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/22 at 06:15 PM

If these numbers are accurate… the average IL. citizen/taxpayer contributes only 21% of the DNR budget (General revenue). The other 79% is paid for by user fees such as hunting/fishing licenses, permits, federal taxes on ammo and fishing equipment. Yet when you look at the DNR staff levels/programs/money you see $8,805,000 going out to city parks for soccer fields and frisbee golf
courses, state parks that have far more programs and facilities for “non-consumptive users” you have over 30% of the DNR staff positions in Mines and Mineral(over 100 DNR staff positions with no less than 9 offices in the state), Water Resources (primary-Chicago metro), the state museums (over 10% of current DNR staff), the DNR still has many useless political slots like a “Southern Illinois concession Co-ordinator” more directors, deputy directors and assistant directors than you can shake a stick at. You have over 3 million dollars a year being sucked out of the budget to run the Sparta complex so they can have Willie Nelson concerts there. It goes on and on. Yep it’s broke, and they broke it on the backs of the hunters, fishermen and boaters, all the while staying completely away from the primary mission.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 09:31 AM

Grants for city parks and improvements come from a tax on real estate transactions, not from licenses, stamps or other fees paid by sportsmen and women. Two DNR funds, the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development and Natural Areas Acquisition Fund both get a share of a tax collected on each real estate transaction. The idea was that the very development that is consuming open space - primarily in northern Illinois - could help pay to keep some open space available to the public.


  One criticism of OSLAD is that many grants end up paying for improvements to existing parks, rather than acquiring new open space. Also, the Natural Areas fund has been mostly “operationalized,” meaning it is being used to keep natural areas staff and stewardship going.


  The budget numbers are the best I have at the moment. The fiscal 2011 number is the “actual” figure, meaning that is how much was actually spent. The 2012 number is the “enacted” number, meaning that is how much the legislature appropriated. Usually, the amount released (that the agency gets to spend) is somewhat less, but we won’t know until the end of the fiscal year. The 2013 number is proposed. We’ve got a long way to go before this budget is done.


  As for some of the other budget breakdowns, I will try to put something together in the next few days.

Posted by Chris Young on 02/23 at 10:28 AM

BENSENVILLE PARK DISTRICT (DuPage County) $247,700.00, to develop a splash pad in Varble Park
ANTIOCH, VILLAGE OF (Lake County) $283,200.00 to develop soccer/football field
BOURBONNAIS TOWNSHIP PARK DISTRICT (Kankakee County) $226,200.00 half court basketball and bean bag courts
CALUMET MEMORIAL PARK DISTRICT (Cook County) $225,000.00, bean bag courts, softball fields
(A) CHAMPAIGN COUNTY FOREST PRESERVE DISTRICT $119,000.00 to aquire a small wetland (YEAH!!!!! FINALLY AQUIRE AND HABITAT)
CHAMPAIGN PARK DISTRICT (Champaign County) $400,000.00 Naturescape playground, fishing pier.
DECATUR PARK DISTRICT (Macon County) $340,000.00
New facilities include 2 basketball courts, a spray pad, a restroom building and playground
DEKALB PARK DISTRICT (DeKalb County) $167,100.00 2 bean bag courts and disk golf
It goes on for a total of 35 projects last year. 1 Land aquisition for a wetland preservation one campground and about 3 fishing docks. The big winners? Soccer fields, splash pads, basketball courts, bean bag courts and disk golf.

My point is you can’t fix a budget without first establishing what the priorities are. You can’t establish the priorities until you understand what the true core mission of the agency is.

Please keep on this story Chris- perhaps something good can come of this whole mess if the DNR is forced to reevaluate.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 10:55 AM

Chris,
Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t blago and possibly quinn sweep the money from those funds?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 11:55 AM

I agree with the points The Colonel makes.  If the license money from hunters/fishermen are accounting for 79% of DNR funding, then programs relating to fishing and hunting should get 79% of that money.  That means that Mines, Water Resources, museums and things such as the visitors center at Starved Rock, should take the brunt of the cuts, NOT programs such as the waterfowl and urban fishing programs.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 12:06 PM

Two governors and the General Assembly have tried every which way to dip into the myriad of Illinois special funds. Remember how Gov. Blagojevich charged funds for all the “administrative” costs they supposedly were running up? From administrative charge-backs to fund sweeps to now borrowing, those funds always are tempting targets.


While not immune, OSLAD and NAAF fought off most of the sweeps due to constituent groups that went to bat for them (Partners for Parks and WIldlife). Still, OSLAD had $38 million transferred out from Sept. 2010 - March 2011. Gov. Quinn does not call the practice sweeps anymore, but he has borrowed from special funds (including OSLAD) with stipulations that the money be paid back in 18 months. Even though the money eventually is paid back, it is available to DNR (or anyone else) for a period of time. I imagine that makes any grant application and awarding process frustrating at best.


You may remember past attempts to sweep Habitat Stamp Funds - and most recently - the WIldlife and Fish Fund. Those sweeps were reversed after US Fish and WIldlife threatened to cut off federal aid.

Posted by Chris Young on 02/23 at 12:45 PM

Sorry, left out a word. Borrowed funds are “not” available to DNR or anyone else for a period of time.

Posted by Chris Young on 02/23 at 12:48 PM

Yes, Chris, I do remember when blago swept those funds, with approval of the General Assembly, despite being informed that they were breaking federal law.
Borrow or sweep, the money is gone.  My bet is that after 18 months, with Illinois financing still in the pits, the “borrowing” will be extended, indefinitly.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 02:08 PM

Yet nothing will change in this basturd state. we ar eina very dark period with no light in sight. As long as we continue to let fools govern our state this willnever change. I’m not even sure my 3 and 5 year old wont be under this same BS that we have had to deal with since Ryan. Remember!! We are ALL here for the good and well being of Chicago. It’s a cult! smile

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 03:40 PM

One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut.

After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, ‘I cannot
accept money from you , I’m doing community service this week.’ The florist
was pleased and left the shop.

When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a
‘thank you’ card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill,
the barber again replied, ‘I cannot accept money from you, I’m doing
community service this week.’ The cop was happy and left the shop.

The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a ‘thank
you’ card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his
bill, the barber again replied, ‘I can not accept money from you. I’m doing
community service this week.’ The Congressman was very happy and left the
shop.

The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen
Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut.

And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the
citizens of our country and the politicians who run it.


BOTH POLITICIANS AND DIAPERS NEED TO BE CHANGED OFTEN AND FOR THE SAME
REASON!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 06:53 PM

It’s just dawned on me!!

My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day.

He has his food prepared for him.

He can eat whenever he wants.
His meals are provided at no cost to him.
He visits the Dr. once a year for his checkup, and again during the year if
any medical needs arise.
For this he pays nothing and nothing is required of him.
He lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than he
needs, but he is not required to do any upkeep.
If he makes a mess, someone else cleans it up.
He has his choice of luxurious places to sleep.
He receives these accommodations absolutely free.
He is living like a King, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever.
All of his costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every
day.
I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick
…….

I think my dog is a member of Congress!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 06:57 PM

No wonder this site was down for the last 3 days,big brother has a lot of pull when they can shut down the information highway!the worst part i think my congressman lied to me when he told me our increase for deer tags was going to stay in the dnr budget ,but i guess that really doesnt count when ya just cut a huge chunk out of the dnr budget!

Posted by trolloni on 02/27 at 09:25 PM

The Journal Star, where the site is hosted, had Internet problems starting Friday and continuing through the weekend. I don’t think it was Big Brother’s fault, but who knows grin

Here’s the bottom line on the license fees: The funds where licenses and fees are deposited are restricted because they also receive federal funds. They can’t be used for other state government spending. However, if DNR raises more money with license sales, and gets less general tax revenue, the licenses are going to be covering more of the expense of running the agency. Those fees will be paying salaries of people who work on wildlife and fish programs. Once upon a time, their salaries were paid at least in part through GRF, but now that is evaporating.

Income is generated on one hand (licenses) and is deducted on the other (General tax revenue).

Posted by Chris Young on 02/27 at 10:03 PM

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