Press release from North Carolina News Service
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The budget proposed by the state Senate prompted an emergency meeting of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission this week. The agency faces more than $9 million in state funding cuts, which amounts to 49 percent of its current budget.
The commission’s executive director, Gordon Meyers, said he already has placed 120 projects on hold pending the outcome of state budget negotiations.
“A cut of this magnitude will have far-reaching impacts throughout everything we do,” he said, “whether it’s law enforcement, public safety, infrastructure, education centers – there is nothing that would go untouched.”
After Tuesday’s emergency meeting, Meyers said he’ll draft a letter to the state Assembly, emphasizing the severe impact the cuts will have on wildlife management and recreation around the state. He noted that outdoor recreation contributes more than $7 billion annually to the state’s economy.
The commission receives $3 in hunting and fishing licenses and federal funding for every dollar of state money, Meyers said, adding that more than just state dollars are at stake.
“Those federal funds require state match money,” he said, “and so depleting the state matching money makes us vulnerable in our ability to utilize federal funds as well.”
According to the Outdoor Industry Foundation, outdoor recreation generates $430 million in tax revenue annually for the North Carolina economy.