Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Minnesota Game and Fish Fund - Increase Fees on Those Who Use It Most

The Minnesota Game and Fish fund is running dry, and there is a debate on in the state as to what to do about it. The easy answer is to merely increase license fees, but in an era where we need to recruit more to our sports, this most adversely impacts those whom we're most in need of bringing to our ranks. Another easy answer is to "stick it to the non-residents" by increasing licenses for those coming in from out of Minnesota, but given the fragile condition of the resort business, do we really want to encourage the resorts' best customers to look elsewhere for their family vacation?

Personally, I think the best option is acquire these funds by increasing license fees on boats, ATVs, snowmobiles, and recreational vehicles. Use of these vehicles in some instances causes environmental damage, so the increase tax is closely tied to work that needs to be done because of their use. The solution would also protect recruitment as novices lack this kind of expensive hardware when they're first starting out. Finally, as any owner of these vehicles can attest, owning and operating one comes with the expectation that there are going to be substantive ongoing expenses associated with it. Increasing fees by the cost of a gallon or two of boat gas should easily be accommodated by that group as part of ownership.

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