Out of a $52.4 billion state budget, a $26 million request is chump change. Yet they'll be lucky to get the $21 million they need to continue providing current services.
Which is indicative of the larger problem: Washington spends less than 1% of its state budget on it's natural resource agencies (DNR, DOE, WDFW), despite their importance to citizens, economies, recreation and that Evergreen State natural heritage that politicians like to talk about being so proud of.
There's plenty to gripe about WDFW's management, especially as recreational licenseholders see declining opportunities while the bureaucracy fails to regulate other drains on our shared resources—be it habitat loss to development or commercial users exploiting public resources. But until the systemic under-funding stops, it's hard to expect the paradigm shift we need.