Hunting, fishing licenses may cost more - a lot more
(Note: As folks discover that they can vote themselves a seemingly endless supply of money and power, the backs of the camels grow ever more heavily stick-laden. The twin weapons used to break the camels' backs are "endangered species" and taxation/fees. Either by itself can decimate hunting and fishing, but both brought to bear will have the premeditated effect of stopping another facet of resource providing in America. This is Michigan, but it can, is and will happen in the rest of the states soon. Hunters and fishermen need to get 'up to speed' and involved in protecting their property rights ASAP, or they will join loggers, commercial fishermen, miners, farmers and ranchers as new and actual 'endangered species.')
November 22, 2006
By John Bronz, Capital News Service* (Michigan State University School of Journalism) firstname.lastname@example.org
The Crawford County Avalanche
P.O. Box 490
Grayling, Michigan 49738
To submit a Letter to the Editor: email@example.com
One state representative is outraged over a purposed boost in fees for hunting and fishing licenses, recommended by the National Resources Commission.
Brian Palmer**, R-Romeo, is upset because Proposal 1 -- which amends Michigan's Constitution to require fees from hunting and fishing licenses to go only to conservation -- passed in the November election, and now the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants the Legislature to increase license fees.
"I was afraid this would happen, I voted yes in the House to put this proposal on the ballot to let the people decide," said Palmer, a member of the Natural Resources, Great Lakes, Land Use and Environment Committee. "But right when they secure additional funding they go and do this.
"I think the public got bamboozled. I bet if the people could do it over again, it might be different," he said.
The fee would quadruple, from $6 to $24, for a senior deer license, for hunters 65 and older, more than triple, from $15 to $50, for a bear license and more than double, from $30 to $75, for a combination deer-hunting license. A combo license may be used for archery, firearm or muzzleloader hunting, but the hunter must purchase two kill tags up front.
"We wanted to get in line with other senior citizen discounts like the AARP," said Denny Grinold of Lansing, a member of the commission working group and state affairs officer for the Michigan Charter Boat Association. "So we went with 20 percent."
The Game and Fish Fund is expected to have a deficit of $45 million by 2010-2011. Some programs would be cut if the recommendation isn't passed, according to the commission.
"The state cut the tax revenue from the general fund," said Grinold. "Revenue coming into the fund dropped from 38 percent to around 9 percent. So the commission decided to recommend the increase."
Among the programs likely to be cut if the measure doesn't pass are fish surveys, Inland Fisheries Grant Program, habitat restoration on the upper AuSable River and facility upkeep.
"We need the funds to continue planting coho salmon in the Platte River," said Grinold. "We had to stop this year due to a lack of funds, but with the increases we would be able to start it again."
The Platte River is near Sleeping Bear Dunes, on Lake Michigan's shoreline.
Grinold said licenses sales have declined steadily since 1998, and with increases in health insurance and fuel, the fee changes are necessary.
In 2005, the state sold 1.16 million fishing licenses and 789,000 hunting licenses.
Daniel Zywocki, an Ohio member of the Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited, said, "I feel that people in Michigan don't realize how lucky they are, they have the best blue water trout streams in America. So I pay a premium to fish in Michigan."
Zywocki would have to pay $80, up from $42, to fish in Michigan.
As for younger enthusiasts, a junior archery license would increase from $7.50 to $15, and a junior small game license from $1 to $10.
However, Palmer said the DNR needs to stop taxing youths and seniors, and start learning how to operate on a budget.
"Times are tough in Michigan. Unemployment is high and Michigan's economy is bad. [The DNR] can't tax the public because [it] can't operate properly," said Palmer. "I would vote for a fee decrease."
Copyright 2006, Crawford County Avalanche.
**State Representative Brian Palmer
Anderson House Office Building
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, Michigan 48909-7514
866-531-0007 or 517-373-0843
*The Capital News Service is a wire service based at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. CNS covers the state capital in Lansing for various member papers from September to early May. The service is headed by Eric Freedman, a Pulitzer-winning reporter formerly of the Detroit News. Correspondents are selected from juniors and seniors in the School of Journalism by an application process. Source: http://www.search.com/reference/Capital_News_Service_%28MI%29
Capital News Service