The Head of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a request to increase fees for boating, fishing and hunting licenses in Iowa has nothing to do with the governor. Republicans claim the move is an attempt by the governor to move money around to fund his clean water innitiative.D-N-R Director Paul Johnson says republicans are simply playing politics with the issue. Johnson says they’ve held several meetings to debate the proposed increase. The proposal would raise license fees for fishing by 80-percent and for boating by nearly 90-percent, but Johnson says the fees haven’t been raised in years.Johnson also defended a proposal that would give the State Natural Resources Commission the power to raise the fees without going to the legislature. Republicans in the legislature say that would give the commission the chance to raise fees without any oversight. Johnson disagrees.He says the change would allow the commission to raise the fees no more than once every two years to meet cost of living increases. Johnson says without the increase in fees, programs that benefit habitat and waterways would run out of funding by 2002. He says that could lead to layoffs in the department.
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