On January 15, 2010, the Governor’s office released a budget plan that proposes to permanently eliminate the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s voter-approved $10 million Heritage Fund and redirect all Arizona State Lottery revenue to the state’s general fund. That proposal has been sent for consideration by the Legislature.
Adoption of this proposal could have significant impacts on Arizona’s land use and growth that will be vital for the state’s economic recovery, as well as affecting outdoor recreationists and the future well-being of the state’s wildlife.
Arizona Game and Fish is a business-model agency that receives no Arizona tax dollars. The department acknowledges the difficulties the state faces in addressing the budget situation, but it is critical that the customers who pay the bills in this “user pay, user benefit” model are informed and educated on the potential statewide effects that could result from a permanent elimination of Heritage funding. Those effects potentially include constraints on land use that could affect our state’s economic recovery.
The 45-minute video below is from an informational public presentation and webcast given by the department on Feb. 2 at its Phoenix office. The presentation covers the history of the Heritage Fund, what it’s used for, how it benefits Arizona, and the impacts to Arizona citizens if the fund is lost.