As other see it: Partisanship and the DNRWith the support of Ducks Unlimited, the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance, the Minnesota Conservation Federation and — most important— key Republicans in the Legislature, you’d think a hunting- and fishing-license fee increase would be a no-brainer.
By: Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, Worthington Daily Globe
With the support of Ducks Unlimited, the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance, the Minnesota Conservation Federation and — most important— key Republicans in the Legislature, you’d think a hunting- and fishing-license fee increase would be a no-brainer.
Think again. Instead, the increase may well fall victim to the poisonous political atmosphere in St. Paul.
If that happens, then the Department of Natural Resources’ Game and Fish Fund balance could drop to zero next year.
So, when hunters in blaze orange and anglers on North Country lakes start feeling the impact of the shortfalls, they should blame lawmakers’ stubborn inability to get along with the other side. Legislative efficiency and goodwill have far-reaching effects — and the absence of those things does, too.
Like highway taxes, hunting and fishing licenses generate user fees, and the money from the outdoor sports goes directly into DNR management and enforcement work.
But the fees haven’t been increased since 2001. “At current spending and revenue levels, the DNR’s Game and Fish Fund balance will reach zero by July 2013,” the department’s website notes. ...
Gov. Mark Dayton and 60 conservation groups support the fee increase. As mentioned, key Republican leaders do, too — including state Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria. ...
“Ingebrigtsen blamed election-year politics for Tuesday’s actions, saying DFLers want to kill the game and fish bill to make Republicans, who are in the majority, look bad,” the Star Tribune reported. “They want us to look like the donothing Legislature.”..
Throughout this year and last year’s session, Democrats in the House and Senate minority have complained they’ve been treated with contempt. Now that the GOP needs them, it’s not surprising that the Democrats aren’t there.
It’s just a shame that the DNR and Minnesota’s hunters and anglers will pay the price.