Merging the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission could save the state as much as $5 million annually, according to a new legislative study.
The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee released the study this week, said state Rep. Martin Causer, R-Turtlepoint, chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee.
The study found that a merger of the commissions is feasible and would save millions through elimination of redundant upper-level positions and duplication of services, Causer said in a news release.
"The idea of a merger is definitely something that deserves further consideration," Causer said. "After reading through the study, I would classify the proposed savings as a very conservative estimate; I think the savings would be far greater."
Pennsylvania is the only state where management and oversight of fishing, boating and wildlife activities are managed by two separate, independent agencies. That prompted Causer to introduce the resolution calling on the committee to study the financial feasibility, impact, costs and potential savings via a merger.
The resolution also directed the LBFC to explore a range of options with regard to how to structure the state's wildlife agency to manage wildlife and aquatic resources, the release said.
"No matter what the amount, I firmly believe we should be working to save every dollar we can and instead investing that money in initiatives to benefit our sportsmen across the state," Causer said.
A similar study was conducted 10 years ago, and it showed that merging the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission was feasible and would save money. No legislative action resulted from the study's findings.
Causer said he will be reviewing the study in more detail in the coming weeks and will schedule a meeting of the Game and Fisheries Committee so members can question LBFC staff about its findings.