GOAL Not Supporting Fish & Wildlife Fee Increases Until Serious Issues are Addressed
Recently, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) has asked the sporting community to support a drastic increase in license fees. In their proposal, most license fees would double and stamps, such as waterfowl stamps, would quadruple. The rationale behind these enormous increases is that the DFW has not had any increases since 1996.
In the past, GOAL has supported modest increases to licensing fees, as the management of our resources sometimes requires such increases. We even supported the creation of the Wildlands Conservation Stamp to help safeguard the lands we hold so dear. However, this dramatic increase request comes at a rather troubling time. It is GOAL’s opinion that before we agree to any further fee increases some serious issues need to be addressed.
Some history. For nearly fifty years, Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL) has been among the leading organizations that has been fighting to fund and protect the DFW from political influences. We often get questions from our own members as to why GOAL gets involved in wildlife management. The simple answer is this: it is your money.
Since the 1930’s, gun owners have been footing the majority of the bill for state level wildlife management through a federal program called the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (formerly the Pittman-Robertson Act). Through this program, gun owners pay a 10 – 11% excise tax at the manufacturer level on new guns, ammunition, and other items. Those funds are then distributed to the state level fish & wildlife agencies through a formula and then partially matched with money from the sale of licenses. Since the majority of DFW funding comes from gun owners, GOAL has always sought to make sure the money is spent only on professional wildlife management-and not political hackery.
So, in keeping with our historic guardianship of your money, before GOAL can support such drastic increases, we believe their needs to be much more discussion about the future of the agency and here are problems that need to be addressed:
It is for these and other reasons why GOAL is recommending our community not support such dramatic license and fee increases until some of these issues are addressed.