Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Governor Rauner Releases Proposed Fiscal Year 2019 Illinois Department of Natural Resource Budget

Governor Rauner Releases Proposed Fiscal Year 2019 Illinois Department of Natural Resource Budget

Photos from the Office of Management & Budget & the DNR 

Today Governor Rauner released his FY19 proposed operating budget for the DNR.  You can find it on page 262 of the Proposed Operating Budget.  An operating budget is where 'appropriations are for consumable goods and services such as salaries and benefits, commodities, utilities, and professional services that are purchased and used during any one fiscal year.' 

The Governor is proposing a 1.5% increase from FY18 that would support a Conservation Officer Trainee class which will be required due to retirement and other similar situations. This proposed budget also maintains a fully funded historic preservation department which the IDNR acquired during 2017.  Hunting and fishing licenses will remain the same price for FY19 while maintaining operations of all state parks and campgrounds.

If this is your first time looking at the DNR budget, it can be overwhelming due to the fact that there are many different programs, departments and funds associated with the agency.  You can find this breakdown on page 263 of the Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget.

The Governor also proposed a Capital Budget for the IDNR.  A Capital Budget is when 'appropriations are for assets that have a long-term useful life, such as buildings, highways, underground or surface infrastructure, durable equipment and land. Capital appropriations may span multiple fiscal years.' You can find the DNR Capital Appropriations beginning on page 56 of the Governor Proposed FY19 Capital Budget.

Over several years, the DNR has gone without capital appropriations and with that came deterioration of many DNR properties.  A fully funded capital budget in FY19 will allow the agency to do the over $24 million improvements that they have identified. These projects are highlighted on page 57 of this budget.

The fiscal year 2019 proposed budget provides funding for a complete DNR capital program. This includes: 
  • The continuation of prior year outdoor grant projects, flood hazard mitigation buyouts, mined lands reclamation, recreational trail and water resources programming; 
  • Additional spending authority to finish previously awarded projects; and 
  • Pay-as-you-go appropriations allowing the department to carry out projects and programming that are both core to its mission and can allow for federal match or reimbursement. 
The recommended fiscal year 2019 capital budget continues to fund grants and programs that were included in the fiscal year 2018 budget. 
  • Additional spending authority to finish out prior year obligations is included, such as: 
    •  $25 million in authority to fund previous years’ awards for the Museum Grant Program; and  
    • $64 million to continue prior year grants from the Park and Recreational Facilities (PARC) program. 
  • $30.5 million is included for Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) projects, including $15.0 million for new projects in fiscal year 2019.
As hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts we understand how bad the DNR needs this capital appropriation to just maintain our state parks and make them more enjoyable for all visitors.

As a reminder, this is the Governor's Proposed budget, it has not been enacted or approved.  This begins the long negotiations of a budget in Illinois, so continue to check back with Capitol Outdoors throughout this process. 

Remember Enjoy the Outdoors, Good Luck and Stay Safe

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