"There are technical aspects to this the feds haven't even thought about. Those 'little details' are going to put a lot of state agencies in a world of hurt," he said.
Two things make the cuts particularly galling. One is that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar could have exempted those programs from being cut but didn't. The other is that cutting those particular programs isn't exactly legal.
By law, money raised by federal excise taxes on hunting equipment, fishing tackle and motorboat fuel is supposed to be set aside specifically for states for use in wildlife, fish and boating-safety programs.
"Those funds are supposed to be sacrosanct," Taylor said.
Congress got around the law by sequestering the funds instead of making the cuts permanent. Under sequestration, 7.6 percent will be withheld from the states each year for 10 years. At the end of that period, the accumulated money supposedly will be returned to the agencies in a lump sum.
"The problem with that is those programs all require the federal money to be matched dollar-for-dollar by states. States that can't match it aren't allowed to receive it," Taylor said. "I'm darned sure [the DNR] won't have $7.6 million sitting in its accounts when those federal funds are finally released."
Here's the bottom line:
Those sequestered funds are your money. The federal government guaranteed that your state's fish and wildlife programs would benefit from that money. If Congress doesn't pass a budget, and if Obama administration officials keep fish and wildlife programs on the list of mandatory cuts, they've broken that guarantee.
The funds can still be saved, but only if we sportsmen scream long and loud. Perhaps it's time our representatives in Washington heard from us.