Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

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Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  fshnski on Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:05 am

Do you think a user fee is fare tax?



   CONCORD, N.H. —Canoes, kayaks, sailboats and other non-motorized vessels may face an annual $10 fee for conservation decals in the coming years in New Hampshire.

The legislature is set to look at this and a number of other potential revenue options to keep the Fish and Game Department afloat.

   State Sen. Bob Odell, R-Lempster, chaired a legislative committee to study the options to improve the sustainability of the Fish and Game Department. He said something has to be done and he wants it to be looked at it in broad terms so a long-term solution can be found.

   Self-funded through license and registration fees and federal funds, Fish and Game has been seeing flat license sales since 2003 and a loss in federal dollars. At the same time, expenses have been going up.

   Odell said information given to the commission was the agency is looking at a $3 million a year deficit by 2017 and the legislature needs to consider its options before budget time comes around again.

   This past summer, general funds were tapped to help pay department costs.

   It will receive $1.6 million through 2015 from the state coffers.

   The department brings in $30 million annually in revenue, but that is still not enough.

   "At some point, we have to address it," Odell said Sunday. "Either on the revenue side or the spending side, something has to be done."

   The commission studied only the revenue side, he stressed, and came up with some recommendations.

   Among those options which could be added to House Bill 256:

   -- Increase Fish and Game license fees to be the same price for both fish and game. Currently resident fishing licenses are $35 and it is $22 to hunt.

   -- Increase the age for free, lifetime in-state licenses, now set at age 68. It used to be 70.

   -- Consider a new, non-motorized watercraft fee of $10.

   Four states have such fees averaging $10 annually to pay for wildlife conservation.

   Illinois has an annual $6 water usage stamp for canoes and kayaks and Pennsylvania only requires a decal on canoes and other non-motorized vessels if they use state ramps and state parks.

   In New Hampshire, such a conservation decal would address a matter of fairness, according to the report and, "provide an opportunity  to support the work of the department, which benefits them."

   The members of the study committee agreed this should not be a registration of the watercraft but a fee, to help support the agency, which is "user friendly."

   It does not state how the collection would occur nor projected income.

   The report noted while this has been considered in the past and rejected, "given the critical financial circumstances at the department, the commission found that this option should be considered again."

   In New Hampshire, canoe dealer decals would be available for rental fleets of vessels.

   Tom Whalen of Wild Meadow Canoes in Center Harbor said the idea would not be well-received by his community of users and retailers.

   "They need to consider the full ramifications of this," he said, noting people already pay to recreate on publicly-acquired access sites.

   Whalen said sales of canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards have shifted dramatically to a rental business. Sometimes, he said he needs to move quickly to take a vessel out of retail sale and press it into rental service. Having to pay a fee for a sticker would add to costs and confusion.

   "We need flexibility and the law generally is not flexible," he said.

   Odell said the recommendations of the bill can be added House Bill 256, retained in the House to look at how to pay for Search and Rescue missions.

   He said the issue is broader than search and rescue.

   Susan Arnold, vice president for conservation at the Appalachian Mountain Club said the organization is committed to working with others to find a funding solution for Fish and Game.

   “We are pleased that legislation has been proposed to continue the commission looking into the funding challenges faced by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. AMC and others in the volunteer search-and-rescue community are dedicated to our service and will continue playing a supportive role in finding equitable and long-term funding solutions for Fish and Game.

   "A fee for non-motorized watercraft is one of many proposals that have been offered, and we believe that continued dialogue and coordination between state officials, legislators, and representatives of the outdoor recreation community about all options will be critical components of success,” she said.

   Tom O'Brien, president of the New Hampshire Lakes Association, sat in on some of the committee discussions and agreed with Arnold. The association represents more than 120 lake associations.

   He said the report "illuminates the need for a comprehensive discussion on how all the state's natural resource agencies are funded," including Environmental Services, Resources, and Safety.

   For their part, the report asks the legislature to make a policy decision on whether Fish and Game should continue to be self-funded.

   Bringing a budget to the governor for funding, like other departments, would mean it would lose a bit of its autonomy, Odell noted.

   Federal funds account for 32 percent of the revenue of the department and license fees are 22 percent, the rest comes from OHRV/snowmobile license revenue. The funds fluctuate from year to year.

   To deal, Fish and Game has cut staff by 15 including four conservation officer positions, the report states. Increasing license fees alone will not be a long term fix.

   The study committee members also asked that their body be re-created to spend another year to fully study the issue of the department's future funding.

   The report also took the Fish and Game Department to task for its overdue 10-year strategic plan.

   The current plan was drafted 15 years ago and promised to be completed in 2007 during an audit.

   A completed strategic plan will be due by the end of 2014, under the recommendations of the legislative commission.

   The Senator said that the study commission did not look at tapping Rooms and Meals Fees, as some in the past have recommended.

   He said that is because that money is basically spoken for. But it could become a part of the policy discussion in the next legislative session.



Read more: http://www.wmur.com/escape-outside/canoes-kayaks-others-may-face-annual-fee-for-conservation-decals/-/18282296/23285240/-/vbyygk/-/index.html#ixzz2mboJy86C

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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  News Hawk on Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:22 am

Yup.

It's always a good idea to copy what Illinois does.

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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  fshnski on Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:13 am

It's funny you caught that. When I read it first that came to my mind too. Don't forget … you can't distrust all Illinoisans because a few are liars.

So, you agree with a fee for paddlers, rowers and puffers?


Last edited by fshnski on Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:09 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : change my meaning)

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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  Achigan on Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:41 am

$10 then $20 then $40 then $80 then $160 then $280... This will never stop until the republicans bleed us of all out money.

State Sen. Bob Odell, R-Lempster is chairing this whole thing so watch your pocket books. Anytime a republican chairs something and asks for money, we all need to follow this very closely. Tax and spend is the conservative way.

Thanks for posting this because it proves just how the republicans think. Don't fix the problem, just ask for more money.
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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  fshnski on Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:45 am

You're such an obvious democrat. You take what somebody says and turn and twist it far enough to convince the uneducated voter that it makes sense for the cause. Shame on you liberal!

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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  Achigan on Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:52 am

fshnski wrote:You're such an obvious democrat. You take what somebody says and turn and twist it far enough to convince the uneducated voter that it makes sense for the cause. Shame on you liberal!
The truth hurts doesn't it. Tax and spend, rob the poor, pay the rich...it's the conservative way. Rob the general fund and then ask the poor to pay more tax because of that. It's the conservative way of thinking.
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To anybody else reading this ...

Post  fshnski on Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:13 pm

It's no wonder that the president's rating continues to fall. More and more young, middle aged and older people are sick of hearing the liberals try to twist the truth. That is why the ratings for the cable news networks are showing the conservative network Fox is increasing in viewers while the liberal leftist CNN and MSNBC are losing viewers that were loyal to them for years. It started after obama was caught in his first lie. How can even his staunchest allies still support him without looking incompetent or deceitful? If our president lies who can we trust?

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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  News Hawk on Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:21 pm

Even Woodsy has hit the nail on the thumb!

I have always thought the kayaks & canoes should pay a small fee... and I am all for the $10.00 sticker. IF ITS MANAGED PROPERLY!

The issue I have is....

THE IDIOT REPS & SENATORS WHO THINK ITS OK TO ROB PETER TO PAY PAUL!

NH F&G has been facing declining revenues and increased costs for years. Less people hunting & fishing coupled with EXORBITANT rescue costs. Yet the Legislature has seen fit to raid F&G funds to pay for overspending the General fund!

Same goes for NHMP.... They had plenty of $$ to be self sufficient! Until the IDIOTS in Concord thought it ok to raid their $$ to help pay for overspending the General fund!!

STOP SPENDING MONEY YOU DONT HAVE!

Sorry for the rant...

Woodsy

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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  News Hawk on Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:22 pm

...and Merrymeeting:

I love (NOT!) that they are pushing this as a way to keep Fish & Game going. If they hadn't raided the F&G funding sources for other things over the past decade, there would be no need.

How long before this additional fee is diverted from F&G and used to fund some other unneeded program? Adding more fees is not the answer.


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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  Achigan on Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:29 pm

fshnski wrote:It's no wonder that the president's rating continues to fall. More and more young, middle aged and older people are sick of hearing the liberals try to twist the truth. That is why the ratings for the cable news networks are showing the conservative network Fox is increasing in viewers while the liberal leftist CNN and MSNBC are losing viewers that were loyal to them for years. It started after obama was caught in his first lie. How can even his staunchest allies still support him without looking incompetent or deceitful? If our president lies who can we trust?
I'm sorry, but you are a complete idiot! You don't stay on topic...never...you just keep posting nonsense and get everything off topic and twisted.

Look at the other posts from NH that you agree with and they are on topic with my comments. You are a very hateful individual.
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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  fshnski on Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:48 pm

I think dedicated fees should go to the dedicated departments. I never minded paying for a fishing license because I thought, "Bang for the buck" you can't get a better bargain. For the price of a license you can get hours of excitement and months of joy and relaxation. I agree with what Woodsy said. I too think their is too much "robbing Peter to pay Paul" in every level of the government. I also think that the more departments that get their hands on something the easier it is to confuse the chain of accountability.

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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  News Hawk on Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:32 am

fshnski wrote:You're such an obvious democrat. You take what somebody says and turn and twist it far enough to convince the uneducated voter that it makes sense for the cause. Shame on you liberal!
Liberals don't understand the psychological phenomenon known as "projection".

("Projecting" onto others what THEY want to do).

Evil or Very Mad 

But this is about the Big Lake.

Why tax the casual paddler for milfoil removal, when thousands of boat trailers can introduce the invasive weeds every week?

scratch 
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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  WHL on Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:53 am

That's the trouble, they never have enough. The money does not stay in the fund for which it was intended either. Another example of this is the gas/diesel fuel tax. If all that money collected had actually gone into roads, we would be driving on gold plated roads.

Did the state need to spend a cool million for Downings in Alton if they need money so badly?

Achigan, I think you are mixed up. You said: "Thanks for posting this because it proves just how the republicans think. Don't fix the problem, just ask for more money." This is the Dems way, not the Repubs. Well, actually it's both, but the Dems are worse. They are the party of tax and spend.
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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  sumrluvr on Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:23 am

Couple of thoughts here:

First, lets remove the political banter and address a the issues being discussed:

1. A fee for paddlers. This has been discussed many times in the past and even brought forth as an LSR which was shot down. It was determined that the small amount of revenue brought in would not be worth the effort to enforce the registration not to mention the loss of tourist dollars of those coming to the state. Also, keep in mind this was not an effort to put forth a bill but simply a discussion of ideas of what can be done to increase the depts. revenue and effectiveness.

2. Milfoil. NH, APS, MOT (whatever name he wants to go by) is correct. Paddlers are not responsible for the spread of milfoil in comparison to trailers. Last year they also tried to put forward a law that out of state trailers had to purchase a sticker for $10 to help with the fight against milfoil. The idea was sound but the way they wanted to implement it was crazy. They wanted marinas to purchase blocks of stickers up front from the state in hopes to get back the money. So basically marinas would have to provide money to the state with no guarantee they would earn back the money and would not be able to charge any additional margin on the stickers so basically would be providing a service to the state for free. Needless to say the Marine Trades Association had a major issue with this as did many reps so the bill was shot down. If the state really wanted to do something about milfoil they simply have to ease restrictions on lake front owners from using the chemical to remove milfoil. Currently you have to apply for a permit as well as notify all your neighbors of using the agent to remove the evasive weed. If there was a way to make it easier (say have a set time of year this would be allowed) lake front owners would be the first to try to rid milfoil. No one wants your swimming, fishing, paddling, boating area around your dock filled with milfoil.

3. Downings Landing: Yes it was absolutely necessary to pay 1 million for the "public" boat launch. Having sat on the Governor's Public Water Access and Advisory Board our number 1 complaint and issue was that there are very limited access to "the state's" largest and most popular lake in NH. Most launches are private or do not have condusive parking facilities nearby. Downings was a great southern access point for those wanting to use the lake. The cost will be offset by the number of people coming to the lake for years to come. Also keep in mind one of the charges of the NH fish and game is to provide proper and safe access to all bodies of water. It is actually a law from years ago that the state must provide its citizens access within certain distances.

4. Finally, I am proud to say once again that in last years budget there was a provision put forth and worked on by SBONH to make the boating registration revenue once again a "dedicated fund". If you recall 3 years ago to close the budget gap the legislature changed the law allowing them to take any revenue considered in surplus from any dedicated fund to close the budget gap. This was extremely short sighted because some departments actually budgeted correctly based on yearly figures and % changes for future needs. These funds were raided and basically in doing so changed the registrations from a "users fee" to a "boating tax". This was a monumental mistake. Luckily we were able to work with the legislature and have that reversed last year. By the way I personally am a staunch conservative and tea party supporter but it was the republicans that made this mistake. Just an FYI.

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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  Achigan on Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:27 am

Very good info, thanks sumrluvr.
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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  WHL on Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:35 am

Well, I am glad funds are now dedicated, at least they won't go into the general fund.

I don't think it was absolutely necessary to buy Downings despite what you say. People seemed to find a way to get on the lake when they wanted to. It might be more convenient, but it was not a necessity. It is the difference between WANTS and NEEDS. If they now need to raise our taxes, I don't think they should have bought it. It would have helped the budget some to save that money.

I also don't think I like the idea that homeowner's should be allowed to treat milfoil themselves. That would be a disaster if everybody just started throwing that stuff in the lake. People will be swimming in it and drinking it and getting very sick.
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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  sumrluvr on Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:53 am

The Fish and Game have been in search of more accessible ramps to the lake for years. Under the statute they have to provide enough access calculated by distance and size of the body of water (I do not have that formula handy any longer) So they are doing what they have been charged to do. The problem is any reasonable launching facility on the lake comes at top dollar. Downings was significantly less for what it offered. You should have seen some of the offers for other spots.

Yes I agree that property owners should not be able to throw chemicals at will but currently you have to apply for the permit and notify your neighbors by certified mail as to the dates it will be done. Instead I think there should be one particular time frame. Example: 3rd week in July from Mon - Wed. That will be deemed as milfoil removal days. (it is just a thought) or spread it out per town etc.

What I am getting at is a sticker and more money isn't going to stop milfoil. There are other alternatives that can be tried before we start an entirely new regulation and tax. You have to ask how much of the $10 paddler registration or $10 trailer sticker for out of staters actually make it to actual elimination of milfoil after:

Production costs of the sticker
Distribution costs
Education cost of the new law to Marina's and the general public
Enforcement cost
Loss of revenue by people going elsewhere or deciding not to get that second or third kayak for example.

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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  WHL on Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:26 pm

You probably are aware of the process now for the milfoil. When they put the poison in the water if you use lake water you cannot drink your water for a month and obviously that includes brushing your teeth etc. You cannot swim in the lake or take a shower for 24 hours. There is something in it that was also in agent orange and it doesn't exactly give one a warm fuzzy feeling.
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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  sumrluvr on Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:55 pm

Yes, I am aware. I wish there was a better way.

There is no simple answer but a new regulation and beaucracy is not the way to go either.

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Re: Canoes, kayaks, others may face annual fee for conservation decals

Post  WHL on Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:14 pm

I totally agree with that last statement.
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