As I mentioned in a comment to my previous post, the DGIF board voted yesterday to propose adding $5 to the price of resident fishing and hunting licenses. The proposal for non-resident licenses is a whopping $50.
The way the proposal is worded the board can approve a lesser increase. Any changes, should they be approved, would not take effect until the middle of next year, at the earliest.
Having just hiked fees $5 in 2006 (a long overdue increase), agency leaders surely aren’t thrilled to have to make this proposal. But the alternative is financial disaster, they claim, by 2014.
The hope is that some other alternative funding sources can be identified during this winter’s General Assembly session. What might that mean? Maybe some way to reduce the number of license exemptions (there are 13 right now) that hurt the agency not only by reducing direct revenue, but also by reducing federal matching dollars based on license sales numbers.
Other options? Maybe something similar to House Bill 38, which diverted a portion of sales taxes collected on outdoor gear to a fund that was intended for the DGIF (though that fund has been raided from time to time).
So, what are the thoughts on license increases? And what about all those exemptions? Any other ideas for ways the DGIF can balance its budget?