Outdoor Recreation Idea of the Day, December 10, 2010

Current Federal Budgeting Fails the Outdoors -- Multi-Year Budget Needed

December 10, 2010 (Washington, DC) - The current annual budget process creates a terrible workload for federal land agencies. Rarely are budgets passed by the start of the fiscal year -- often it is 3-4 months into the new year before a budget is enacted. Continuing Resolutions -- CRs -- prompt threats of shut-downs and temporary decisions.

Other major federal policy areas, including transportation and farm/food, have 5 year programs passed by the Congress with multi-year spending authority. Because it is difficult to build and rebuild highways and bridges one year at a time, these 5-year programs allow organizations like the Department of Transportation to write a long-term plan with confidence, and allots the proper funding to carry out that plan.

Can't we make the case that we can't care for parks and refuges and forests and more one year at a time? Imagine passage of a 5-year parks plan, or a 5-year forest plan, with oversight hearings by the Congress to measure compliance, make mid-course changes as needed and get ready for a new, cohesive next 5-year plan.

Idea of the Day is inspired by the President's America's Great Outdoors Initiative to connect Americans to the outdoors and its IdeaJam blog. ARC’s submissions to the blog can be found if you click here. Additional ideas that have been submitted to IdeaJam can be found in our September 2010 newsletter, which is here.