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fishnowworknever

Update: License Fee Increase

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fishnowworknever

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/04/23/fishing-hunting-fee-hike-approved/

April 23, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Senate today passed a game and fish bill that would increase license fees for the first time in nearly 12 years, but it does not move up the start of this year's fishing season.

Monday's vote was 36-30, with bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition. Officials with the Department of Natural Resources say the $11 million generated by the fee increases is needed to keep the game and fish fund running in the black.

Hunting and fishing advocates gathered in the Capitol Rotunda ahead of the Senate vote to demonstrate their support for the bill, as well as its increased fees for hunting, fishing and trapping. Professional angler Al Lindner told the crowd that the increases are necessary and long overdue.

"This isn't a tax. This is a user fee. And to those who are in powerful positions, how many people do you have who are willing to reach in their pocket and say, 'I want to give you money,'" Lindner said. "Here, we want to give you the money to make sure that our fishing and hunting and our woods and waters stay good. Here, here's the money. We want to give it to you."

The Senate rejected the proposed increases last week, forcing Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, to table the entire game and fish bill.

Ingebrigtsen, who chairs the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, brought the bill back for a second try after trying to ease some of the concerns raised by opponents. He removed a provision to eliminate conservation fishing licenses. Ingebrigtsen said he thought lawmakers on both sides of the aisle could now be able to support the bill.

"When you go out to the lake and there are 10 boats out there, I don't think you're going to be able to distinguish the difference between Republican or Democrat or independent for that matter," Ingebrigtsen said. "We all enjoy it. We all work together. Passing legislation like this has always been historically bipartisan."

But Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, who helped trip up the bill last week, wanted more changes. He successfully changed the bill to direct a portion of the new fee revenue to the permanent school trust fund and another portion to wolf management programs. With wolves no longer an endangered species, Bakk said the state is now responsible for managing wolves.

"In agriculture areas [wolves are] a real problem, and farmers are concerned about whether they're going to get reimbursed if they have cattle taken," Bakk said. "Because there are no longer going to be federal trappers that are out trapping timberwolves."

The bill establishes a new wolf hunting season in Minnesota. An attempt to delay that hunt by five years failed. Lawmakers also turned back a well-publicized effort to move up the start of this year's fishing season by one week. Bakk made that proposal several weeks ago when the weather was unseasonably warm. He withdrew the amendment in the face of growing opposition.

Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Brainerd said the change would cause problems.

"I do have a lot of large resorts and a lot of small resorts in my area. None of the resorts said they wanted it. Some of the larger ones were neutral because they're year-round," Gazelka said. "But the smaller reports were very much against this."

Gazelka successfully amended the bill with a provision to allow for the continued sale of hunting and fishing licenses during future state government shutdowns.

The Minnesota House passed its game and fish bill earlier this month. The House version includes the earlier fishing season start, but does not raise any fees.

Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings told the sportsmen gathered at the rally Monday that he and other key lawmakers would support those fees in conference committee negotiations.

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c0untryf1sh3r

I, along with many others I'm sure, am glad the bill passed. As Mr. Lindner said the increase is long overdue.

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Finlander

Oh no not a license increase! Big deal! A gallon of gas cost just as much as the license increase! I think it should have increased more due to inflation. Oh well, thats the way the lawmakers do things! grin

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Ryan84*

I agree with the increase. It will help preserve our resources and help tourism as well.

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amateurfishing

sounds like one of the best things they have done in a while. i am really happy that they are keeping the conservation license especially for those that will get sticker shock if not informed by the new fees. also the continued sales during shutdowns is a great benefit for resort owners. kudos to those who made this happen

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fishnowworknever

I don't think there are many anglers that are upset with the increase.

The one thing that gets me is:

"But Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, who helped trip up the bill last week, wanted more changes. He successfully changed the bill to direct a portion of the new fee revenue to the permanent school trust fund and another portion to wolf management programs. With wolves no longer an endangered species, Bakk said the state is now responsible for managing wolves."

Why trim off the top for these other programs? If there is a fee increase for a fishing license I think it should go DIRECTLY into fisheries management. It's better than nothing though and I guess they are looking at the big picture budget wise.

I'd really like to know the $$ ammounts of these "portions".

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amateurfishing

i certainly dont want to make this a political debate...

the state has been taking from education fund to pay for other stuff since pawlenty was gov. and the very basis for the state shutdown last summer when dayton wanted to raise taxes on top 1% of mn residents, he caved in to that and budget was cleared by taking more tax $$ from general education fund to balance budget. i really dont like taking DNR $$ away from DNR either but suppose it is a small way for education fund to get some $$ back and make DNR bill bipartisan effort to get passed. like it or not, wheels always get greased in politics

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Kyhl

I agree. Another congressman directing pork payments to his pet projects.

Here's an idea, fund the DNR and let them allocate the funds to projects that are scientifically proven, plus R+D. All these earmarks will turn the DNR into a clearing house. Basically an account that houses money to be spent as determined by congress.

If they want to earmark money for wolf projects, maybe take it out of hunting licenses, or the general fund?

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amateurfishing

I agree. Another congressman directing pork payments to his pet projects.

Here's an idea, fund the DNR and let them allocate the funds to projects that are scientifically proven, plus R+D. All these earmarks will turn the DNR into a clearing house. Basically an account that houses money to be spent as determined by congress.

If they want to earmark money for wolf projects, maybe take it out of hunting licenses, or the general fund?

re distribuing $$ to education fund is not ear marking/pork fat, that $$ was taking long time ago & eventually has to be paid back from somewhere.

wolf funding or any other NEW project work b pork barreling.

yes, i would agree wish they could keep specific dollars in specific coffers, much easier way to track/account for spending. im guessing this is exactly why they do it so there can be a lot more gray areas and stuff not tracked or found as easily

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paceman

I may have missed it But tthey did not say how much of an increase it would be. Just curious.

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LMITOUT

I don't think there are many anglers that are upset with the increase.

The one thing that gets me is:

"But Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, who helped trip up the bill last week, wanted more changes. He successfully changed the bill to direct a portion of the new fee revenue to the permanent school trust fund and another portion to wolf management programs. With wolves no longer an endangered species, Bakk said the state is now responsible for managing wolves."

Why trim off the top for these other programs? If there is a fee increase for a fishing license I think it should go DIRECTLY into fisheries management. It's better than nothing though and I guess they are looking at the big picture budget wise.

I'd really like to know the $$ ammounts of these "portions".

Fifty cents from each annual deer license and fifty cents for each resident lifetime hunting/fishing license goes towards the wolf management account.

Fifty cents from each annual fishing or hunting license (excluding stamps), plus fifty cents for each resident lifetime hunting/fishing license goes towards the school trust land account in the game and fish fund.

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LMITOUT

I may have missed it But tthey did not say how much of an increase it would be. Just curious.

Which one? They increased most everything across the board.

Resident fishing was increased by $5.

Just remember that this isn't set in stone yet. Only the Senate has passed this proposal and now it has to be hashed out between the Senate and House because the bill that the House had is different than what the Senate just passed. Then after the differences are worked out they both have to vote on it again, and then the Governor has to sign whatever they agreed upon to finally make it into law.

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Will

When the sale of lottery tickets was being considered, wasn't one of the biggest benefits supposed to be mn outdoors? 13% goes to the general fund, about 11% goes to environment/game and fish/Nat resources. Seems a little lopsided. Maybe some more should go to our floundering dnr.

 

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fishgutz77

so does the money just go into the general slush fund or is it earmarked for the DNR only? this is key!

I just hate to see the money like the lottery and special taxes already leveid go right into so called wildlife projects that could not be further from the real thing.

I don't mind paying to enhance or maintain the resource as long as the money gets where it was intended to go, not some trumped up marketing ploy to get us to part with more of our hard earned money, just to support someones hair brained loser intangible scheme.

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LMITOUT

Hunting and fishing license revenue is put towards the game and fish account by law.

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vikingmeatwad

I hope this passes.

I also hope the DNR can get the outlets that sell fishing licenses to ask if they want a walleye stamp. Every time I have had to inform them of the stamp that benefits Walleye stocking, etc.

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certified jumbo

viking,

i agree on the walleye stocking stamp. i always buy one and i always have to ask to get one. early in the season i fish mostly non stocked lakes, but shortly after opener i fish walleye lakes that are all stocked fish and do very, very well.

as linder said, we have great fishing in minnesota and that is no lie. we don't want to lose that.

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pushbutton

I always buy the stamp as well....even though I rarely fish for them on stocked lakes. Some of the best money the State spends for return on investment. Personally don't understand the fascination, but that does not matter.....they are a huge cash cow for the State and the people who live in it.

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jb426

Hate to burst your bubbles, but the government will always use this tatic to fund their personal agenda's. Tell the people that we are raising a certain fee for this certain purpose, get the people's backing then take a little off the top for something that has nothing to do with the orginal bill. It's how it's done. they make a bill so wordy that the average citizen won't have time or energy to read it, or if they do read they can't understand what they just read. Then of course the media will only report whatever the manageing partner tells them to report. Anyways, as stated before I have no problem paying a higher fee just wish 100% went towards conservation of our natural resources. heck I would even pay more if it meant more CO's out on the lakes!

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harvey lee

Great news on the fee increase. smile

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dan z

Hate to burst your bubbles, but the government will always use this tatic to fund their personal agenda's. Tell the people that we are raising a certain fee for this certain purpose, get the people's backing then take a little off the top for something that has nothing to do with the orginal bill. It's how it's done. they make a bill so wordy that the average citizen won't have time or energy to read it, or if they do read they can't understand what they just read. Then of course the media will only report whatever the manageing partner tells them to report. Anyways, as stated before I have no problem paying a higher fee just wish 100% went towards conservation of our natural resources. heck I would even pay more if it meant more CO's out on the lakes!

Ditto!

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pushbutton

Understand what you guys are getting at but thats what you get out of a bureaucracy. Hard to prevent "bloated" budgets on things you might not necessarily agree with. Suppose you can create another bureaucracy to try to curb it crazy Plus who's to say what aspect of what you like of what they do is better than what others like. I truly believe the Mn DNR does one heck of a job, yes there is some boloney, but, at least most of the money gets thrown towards the target that benefits all of us in some way.

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amateurfishing

all license sales kiosks are supposed to ask every purchaser if they want any add ons from basic license (trout validation/stamp, walleye stamp, etc), if they do not ask then they are not doing there job. I worked at wallys in sporting goods and we sold licenses. was trained and told ALWAYS ask/remind customer about any additional priveleges/fees. if a specific vendor does not do this when purchasing your license, i would forward vendor info onto DNR and let them know bout it.

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jb426

exactly. take school referendums for example. some people want them, some people don't. all depends on where you're at life. I would have no problem approving a school referendum if I was certain that no money was wasted on dump. I would have no problem paying 100 dollars year for a fishing license if I was certain it was going to the dnr. nevermind, I better stop right there I'm getting worked up. the only thing I disagree with you on is that the government should not waste 1 penny of the taxpayers dollars. it's not theirs to waste but yet they waste a lot and we the people keep re elect ing the same politicians who continue to waste. you aknowledged that you know they waste but are okay with it. The founding fathers are rolling over in their graves. my opinion of course.

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James_R

All of you fishing fee increase supporters who love big government need to quit offering the politicians my money and take out your own checkbooks and send a large "user fee" to our state coffers. If $5 is such a paltry amount then why are you so desperate to take it from me? The truth is that there are thousands of government agencies that charge us $5 here or 50 cents there and when you put all of the pennies and dollars together we all end up with huge tax burdens. It might only be $2 dollars to you but to the bureaucrat all of those innocuous fees add up to bigger salaries, pensions and overtime budgets. Do any of you even know how this additional funding will be utilized or am I just supposed to assume that this will result in better fishing?

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