Hunting fee increase will hurt North DakotaYou would be hard pressed to find any of our North Dakota legislators who are in favor of raising taxes, nor would few advocate doing anything that would hurt those who like guns.
By: Harvey Brock, The Dickinson Press
You would be hard pressed to find any of our North Dakota legislators who are in favor of raising taxes, nor would few advocate doing anything that would hurt those who like guns.
So why with a budget surplus that is the envy of every other state in the union and countless bills to protect the Second Amendment would anyone introduce a bill to increase the cost of hunting and fishing licenses?
Still, House Bill 1130 does exactly that and is pure and simple a tax increase. Increasing fees sounds so much better than raising taxes, but here is a hint if state government charges you more for something they already charge you for, that is a tax increase.
Sure it doesn’t affect everyone, only the majority of North Dakotans who hunt, fish, trap, boat and make their living serving those who do. North Dakota outdoors are arguably the state’s biggest attribute and access to enjoy it shouldn’t be cost prohibitive to the people who live, work and pay taxes here.
Raising fees on non-residents could hurt the hospitality industry. Granted the fees may seem small to other states, still those states don’t have huge surpluses.
The license fee increase (taxes) of a resident small game hunting license from $6 to $10, a nonresident small game hunting license from $85 to $94, resident big game hunting license from $20 to $25, a youth big game hunting license from $10 to $11, nonresident big game hunting license from $200 to $220, resident furbearer license from $7 to $10, resident wild turkey license from $8 to $10, nonresident waterfowl hunting license from $85 to $94, nonresident furbearer and nongame hunting license from $25 to $28, resident combination license from $32 to $38, nonresident swan license from $25 to $28, and a resident application fee for moose, elk and sheep from $3 to $5.
In addition, the habitat restoration stamp required for the general game license would increase from $10 to $17, and $8 (instead of $5) of each habitat stamp sold would be placed in the Game and Fish Department’s private land habitat and access improvement fund.
Still, the across-the-board increases will undoubtedly hurt North Dakotan sportsmen and could be the difference between some families with kids ability to enjoy hunting and fishing.
You would think with the budget surplus some thought should be given to improving quality of life, and not looking to increase what folks pay for things they enjoy.
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