AP writer John Flesher says that although an advisory panel proposed a package of license fee increases to solve a chronic funding shortfall in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, lawmakers failed to step forward to support the panel’s recommendation of raising license fees or to offer any alternatives. Ten years ago, the DNR received almost 1/4 of its budget from the general fund, but that number has dwindled to just 9%.
DNR Director Rebecca Humphries says that without a significant new revenue, the agency soon will have to consider serious cutbacks in personnel and programs, especially personnel intensive field work and monitoring. She acknowledges that support for major increases in fees has been scant and says:
We’ve been working the outdoor shows, been over doing a lot more meet-and-greets with the Legislature, and we’re getting fairly good support. I think most of the folks in our hunting and angling community are well aware of the fact that we need to have increases … (but) they’d really like to see something that’s incremental in nature.
Read A compromise possible on state DNR fee increases in the Lansing State Journal and get background on this issue (and a ton of discussion) in Should the DNR raise license fees? on Absolute Michigan.