Friday, March 12, 2010

Fishing License Fee

Minnesota Fishing License Fee

It is likely that most native Minnesotans and those vacationing in the land of 10,000 lakes are familiar with the fishing license fee that is imposed on residents and non-residents wanting to fish our state’s beautiful bodies of water. Currently fishing license rates are as follows:
24 hour - $8.50
Individual, season - $17
Husband/Wife combination - $25
24 hour - $8.50
72 hour - $22
7 day - $26.50
Husband/Wife 14 day - $38.50
Season, individual - $37.50
Family (husband, wife and children under 16) - $50">

The revenue generated from this fee is used to stock and maintain the state’s fisheries. However, angling advocates and concerned fisherman are expressing the need to increase the fee in an effort attract additional revenue that would be earmarked to be used by the DNR for fishing related purposes. As it stands now, the fee itself does not provide the DNR with sufficient revenue to cover the annual operating costs of Minnesota’s fisheries. Consequently, the DNR uses revenue generated through various hunting licensees to address the shortfall. The rationale for raising the fee would be to obtain revenue to fight invasive species and to reimburse licensing vendors. While an increase of a few dollars to the fee may not completely address the fee’s revenue inadequacies it would provide a “step in the right direction”. In addition, many have suggested that they do not feel that an increase of $4 (the price of an expensive latte or a moderately priced beer) would not be prohibitive to fisherman. Indeed many fishermen are fanatics and would go to great lengths to satisfy their desire to fish. In this sense, the fishing license fee is perceived as being efficient as an increase in the fee will likely not change the behavior of fisherman. In Minnesota, the penalties associated with fishing without a license are significant and certainly serve as a deterrent to those considering fishing without a license. It may be true that many fishermen will not be inhibit by a fee increase, however some have noted that many of those that fish are senior citizens living on fixed incomes. With this in mind it would be sensible to offer seniors a discounted rate or a waiver of the fee altogether. In addition, a fee increase may have adverse consequences for low-income populations, making it appropriate to offer an adjusted rate for those with lower incomes.
The fishing license fee is a prime example of a user fee that provides equity to its payer. Although the fee is not currently structured to be adjusted based upon your ability to pay, the revenue that the state acquires by way of the fishing license fee is expended through the DNR’s fisheries budget. Thus, those who are responsible for paying the fee receive the bulk, if not all of the benefit of this fee. Clearly, an increase in the fishing license fee is far less controversial than other tax and fee hikes.

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1 comment:

  1. Nice information about the fishing and hunting fees. A good example that I may use today in class.