How does raising fees on hunting help hunters? This is exactly the question the Democratic Leadership did not ask. They asked how we can increase revenue for the Wildlife and Heritage Service of DNR, tasked with managing wildlife for the entire State. Raise fees on hunters! The General Assembly used to fund this department from the General Fund; however, the current leadership stopped doing this because they could get its revenue from the 180,000 hunters instead. That number has now dwindled to 80,000 hunters, a 55 percent decrease.
This number will continue to dwindle given that the bill has a $37 hunting license fee, a $150 non-resident hunting fee, a $65 non-resident 3 day hunting license fee, new individual hunting stamps of $6 for archery hunters, $25 for non-resident archery hunters, and a $10 resident bonus antler stamp.
These fees are supposed to generate $968,700 in new revenue every year. This number auspiciously does not change over a 4 year period because Department of Legislative Services assumed that the fee increases would not materially affect the number of people requesting a license. However, this assumption is inaccurate given: the decrease that has already taken place, the poor economy and the amount of people who will hunt without a license.
Only the out of control current leadership in Annapolis would assume that increased costs/fees would not affect the number of participants in elastic goods up or down. They continue to show a total disregard for the costs associated with hunting. With the costs of hunting growing higher and higher every year because of new regulations, fees, and taxes, such as the gas tax, current leadership continues to show blatant disregard for hard working Marylanders.
I hope that my fight for hard working Marylanders will prevail given that last year a similar bill House Bill 1419 was killed on the floor by members of the Harford County Delegation such as: myself, Delegate Mary-Dulany James and Delegate Donna Stifler. This bill, Senate Bill 619, is still in the Environmental Matters Committee (410-841-3990) waiting for a vote.
Del. Glen Glass
District 34, southern and eastern Harford