Pennsylvania Proposes to Increase License Fees
Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe offered support for Senate Bill 1527, sponsored by state Sen. Charles T. McIlhinney Jr. (R-Bucks), Senate Game and Fisheries Committee chair, which proposes to increase certain license fees beginning with the 2009-10 license year.
"It has been 10 years since the General Assembly approved the last license fee increase in 1998," Roe said. "During that time, the agency's cost of doing business - from gasoline to utility bills, from lime, seed and fertilizer costs to personnel costs - have increased significantly. All of these increasing costs are outside of our control, and leave us with the choice of cutting or eliminating programs and services.
"If approved, this license fee increase will enable the agency to restore pheasant production and stocking to 200,000 birds for small game hunting, move forward with planned habitat improvement projects stalled due to sky-rocketing fuel and fertilizer costs, and fill vacancies throughout the agency so that we can fulfill our wildlife protection, research and habitat improvement mission."
Roe offered special praise for Sen. McIlhinney proposing a significant reduction in the nonresident junior license fees.
"Increases in the nonresident adult license fees will be offset by the significant reductions proposed by Sen. McIlhinney in the nonresident junior license fees category," Roe said. "This reduction will give nonresident parents who want to bring their children to Pennsylvania to hunt a break.
"While increasing revenues is critical for the agency's wildlife management mission, we do not want to see young people, residents or nonresidents, discouraged from hunting due to license fees."
Roe noted that Sen. McIlhinney's effort to reduce nonresident junior license fees is consistent with the last license fee increase package that included the creation of a combination license for resident and nonresident juniors, and afforded these young hunters the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of hunting and furtaking seasons at a greatly reduced price.
"We also salute Sen. McIlhinney's bill for reducing the amount of time a member of the armed forces reserve units must serve overseas in order to qualify for the reduced military license fees," Roe said. "These brave men and women who serve our country deserve this consideration."