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Illinois DNR budget includes new fees


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Interesting developments on the IDNR front.

 

Many hunters, anglers and outdoor users have said they would pay more for a well-run Department of Natural Resources. The DNR’s 2010 budget proposal offers numerous chances to back up that claim.

 

The DNR unveiled a budget on Wednesday that includes proposals for 10 new or increased fees. Notable among those proposals is a state park parking fee and $7 increases for hunting and fishing licenses.

 

“When (Gov. Pat Quinn) announced the reopening of the state parks he said that day we will rebuild the DNR and bring it back,” said Marc Miller, DNR director. “So much has been done to this agency that we’ve got to find creative ways to get programs back up and fully functioning.

 

“This will generate money into dedicated funds we will be using to accomplish very important aspects of our mission.”

 

Miller said increases are needed even though Quinn upped DNR’s share of the state General Revenue Fund to $62 million for 2010. That’s up from $50 million last year and would boost the overall DNR budget to $276.4 million for 2010.

 

That includes funding for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, which Quinn plans to merge into DNR. At present Miller said there is no money to reopen closed historic sites.

 

Miller does have plans to replace DNR staff laid off in recent years, specifically citing wild turkey and upland game biologists as examples. “We also need technicians at fish hatcheries, we need front-line biologists, there’s going to be a number of positions we need,” Miller said.

 

To pay for those hirings and for other DNR programs that have suffered in recent years, proposals include:

 

• Establish a state park parking fee under which visitors can pay $5 per day or purchase an annual pass costing $25 for residents and $35 for non-residents. “Forty-two other states have admission fees and many of our Midwestern states do this as well,” Miller said. “This is not a brand-new idea but it is something that would support people’s experiences in the parks.”

 

• Increase all resident and non-resident hunting and fishing license fees by $7. A resident fishing license would go from $12.50 to $19.50 and a resident hunting license would bump up from $7 to $14.

 

• Establish an Equestrian Use fee of $5 per day or $25 per year.

 

• Increase cost of resident deer permits from $15 to $25 — the first change in approximately 25 years.

 

• Increase cost of the Illinois State Migratory Waterfowl Stamp from $10 to $15.

 

• Charge $2 per swimmer at Illinois Beach State Park.

 

• Charge a $3 boat launch fee for state ramps at Lake Shelbyville, Rend Lake and Carlyle Lake.

 

• Charge license buyers the $1.09 administration fee for online permits and licenses. Currently the DNR pays this fee.

 

Miller said several proposals would not be in place until next year since they require legislative action or administrative rule changes.

 

“We’re asking for these fee increases now, but we may not see the full effect of this until the next fiscal year,” Miller said. “The most important thing right now is to rebuild this agency.”

 

Here is a more in-depth look at the proposed changes.......

 

http://www.prairiestateoutdoors.com/index....ludes_new_fees/

 

 

 

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I've got no problem with the increase. I did a search of other states to see what they're paying, and we've been getting off pretty easy for years. The increase will bring us up to the average of what I saw from other states. And.... it's going to be money well spent, like Marc said at the Blowout, it's going to stay in the department it is meant to be in!

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I have no problem paying a few extra dollars to DNR, especially with the direction I see IDNR going now. I think the parking fee at the state parks is a great idea. I never understood why the parks got the axe in the first place, when all they had to do was charge an entry fee like almost every other state does.

 

It's been interesting reading some of the comments on other outdoor forums about this, though. It definitely has some people rubbed the wrong way. Seems strange to me that a lot of outdoorsmen will spend $5000 or more on a boat, $100 plus on a new rod, a few hundred dollars on a shotgun, shells, camo, etc., but they freak when they hear they'll have to pay an extra $7 for a fishing or hunting license. Compared to other states I've lived in, I always thought I was getting a deal in Illinois.

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Guest rich mc

there are many pluses to marc millers ideas.i agree with licencse increase . having a state park entry fee creates very little. when you figure the hiring of people to monitor and write tickets,and with the levels of cpos we have now it would take them from where they are needed. they do need to double the fines for offences. rich

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I am not a big fan of politicians, taxes, or government in general. But for some reason, the increases don't bother me as long as they fund what they are intended for. Must be my selfishness showing.

 

The proposed income tax increase would be a lot easier to swallow if I saw some MAJOR spending cuts, combined with ZERO spending increases.

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Increasing the fees is an idea I've always supported with the proviso that the money stays in the department and is not accompamied by an equal reduction in funds from general revenue. We already played that shell game in this state with the lottery and education funding. I told Marc at the banquet he could call on me and I'd do whatever I could to help get support for raising the license fees.

 

The parking sticker issue could be troublesome if you have to have someone at every entrance to collect for the sticker on a daily basis. At parks with multiple entrances like Kankakee State Park that could mean a huge increase in employees just to do that, more than any other type of work done at the site. If it meant closing access to the hunting areas I would not be in favor of that. I also worry about turning the few CPO's we do have into parking enforcement officers rather than Conservation Law enforcement officers. However , if the access and CPO time issue could be resolved satisfactorily, I have no problem with $25 a year. That would help take the burden off the hunters and fisherman and spread it to other user types.

 

I have talked to some local businesses that partially depend on volumes of people visting the area and they worry about a drop in attendence due to the fees. They prolly would not support them as it could cut into thier business by lowering the cutomer base and by reducing the customers disposable income on that visit. $5.00 a head doesn't seem like much until you start multiplying that with a volume of customers.

 

 

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I think increases are a great idea but only if the money goes where it is meant to. Does anybody know what guarantee there is that the revenue would be put back into the DNR the way most of us would probably like to see. I don't mean somebody just telling us it will but actually something in writing so that legislature at some later date can't tap into it for anything other than. How many times have there been creative revenue ideas that in the end haven't gone to help the original purpose.

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Unfortunately, I could see people pocketing the envelopes for thier own gain or folks using that as an excuse for not having the envelope on the windshield.

 

It's been a few years since I was willing to leave the car unlocked or anything valuble in sight. The lowlife quotient has increased in the state parks lately.

 

I could see a locked drop box where you put the fee in an envelope with your make, model and license plate number, but once again it's CPO time and or park employee time issue.

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Just so no one takes it wrong, I'd love to see all users of the facilities sharing the burden. It just needs to be cost/time effective and not cause problems with access especially at other than normal business hours.

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Unfortunately, I could see people pocketing the envelopes for thier own gain or folks using that as an excuse for not having the envelope on the windshield.

 

It's been a few years since I was willing to leave the car unlocked or anything valuble in sight. The lowlife quotient has increased in the state parks lately.

 

I could see a locked drop box where you put the fee in an envelope with your make, model and license plate number, but once again it's CPO time and or park employee time issue.

They use lock boxes in WI, and I'm sure that they'd be installed here. With the right crew, they could install one in every parking area on the Kank in a day. With the wrong crew, it could take all year! :rolleyes:

 

It could be one employee's/CPO's job to just cruise the lots and check for violaters. Give me an armored golf cart and I'll do it! ;)

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I think increases are a great idea but only if the money goes where it is meant to. Does anybody know what guarantee there is that the revenue would be put back into the DNR the way most of us would probably like to see. I don't mean somebody just telling us it will but actually something in writing so that legislature at some later date can't tap into it for anything other than. How many times have there been creative revenue ideas that in the end haven't gone to help the original purpose.

 

 

That right there is a big concern that's on a lot of people's minds. I think a lot of folks are very willing to pony up some cash if they know it's going to stay with the DNR. But the shenanigans that have gone on in this state for way too long have made everyone rather paranoid. I think it would be great to see some efforts to ensure that the kind of dedicated funding sweeps that have gone on in the past never happen again.

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While I agree with the sentiment to fork over a few more $$$$ for the cause, at this point in time the answer must be a resounding no.

 

The states financial crisis IS NOT OUR FAULT, the blame rest squarely on the shoulders of the state legislature. Over the past two decades we the taxpayers have sent increasing amounts of $$$$ to Springfield, at twice the rate of inflation and what have they done with it? spent it of course.

 

Jim Edgar left office leaving behind a billion $$$$ plus surplus. When Ryan arrived on the scene, he broke open the piggy bank and spent it faster that you can say Jackie Robinson. Members of both parties indulged in this spending orgy.

As if that wasn't enough, Ryan increased spending leaving behind a four billion $$$$ deficit. Enter Balgo the reformer.

During his first term tons of cash came in but rather than control spending and pay down the deficit, he and the bunch spent it faster than it came in. After his six years we now have close to a 10 billion deficit. Some reform!

 

As for for forking over a few more bucks for a license, park fee etc and thinking that it will go to a protected dedicated fund, well that's the stuff fairy tales are made of. Consider the Road and bridge fund where your motor fuel taxes go to supposedly to maintain our infrastructure: Over the past 15 years and possibly before that. During Ryan's term they were siphoning off (stealing ) 150 - 300 million $$$$ per year. Last year they stole close to 600 MILLION $$$$ form what is supposed to be a dedicated fund. The year before it was close to that. If we add up all of these thefts, is comes to billions.

 

Knowing the propensity of this current bunch to lie cheat and steal, some of you still think its a good idea to give these thieves more $$$$ and you believe that they can be trusted?

 

Quinn now wants an income tax increase, plus more taxes on businesses. His plan is a joke and should not be supported.

He intends to sell this deal by offering a tax swap. A reduction in property taxes for and increase in the state income tax.

It's a ruse. Any reduction in property taxes will be small and temporary, and eventually we all will be paying more, much more, even with his increased deductions.

 

If you want more $$$$ for the DNR here's an idea. Lets research the voting records of the legislator's and see who voted for all of this increased spending and who voted for the theft of the R&B funds. Then lets see if we can get a lien or assignment against their pensions and garnish their retirement $$$. Not sure if it's possible but I for one would like to see it.

 

 

 

 

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I feel fees in all areas should rise slightly so not to gouge any one group. The key will be to allow the money to stay in the fund. Blaggo got everyone screaming when he raided every fund in a (rob blagovich) peter to pay paul approach to government.

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