A bill that’s cleared a senate committee would raise the license fees for out-ot-staters who come into Iowa to hunt or fish.
An earlier version of the bill would have raised hunting and fishing license fees on Iowans as well, but Governor Chet Culver has made it clear he objects to that. "We have to be very sensitive to the economic realities out there. This is not the time to raise taxes on Iowans. This is not the time to raise fees," Culver said Thursday morning. "People are hurting. They’re having a tough time putting gas in the tank and paying their utility bills and making their mortage payments and making their car payments."
On Thursday afternoon, the Senate Natural Resources Committee approved the bill which riases hunting and fishing license fees on out-of-staters only. Senator Dick Dearden, a Democrat from Des Moines, says without a fee increase, the Department of Natural Resources will find it difficult to make ends meet. "There’s a real shortage in the fish and wildlife trust fund," Dearden says. "We either lay people off or close down fish hatcheries."
If the bill were to become law, out-of-staters would pay an extra $10 for an Iowa fishing license and an extra $30 for a hunting license. The cost of a deer license would double to $300 for out-of-state hunters. Dearden estimates those fee increases on out-of-state sportsmen and women would raise up to $2 million more dollars for the D.N.R.
While Governor Culver has made clear he opposes hunting and fishing license fee increases for Iowans, he’s not yet decided whether he supports or objects to the bill which would apply the increases to residents of other states.