State Parks: Never-mind the other growing deficit, our state parks system, a Scott Walker created disaster as well. Odder still is how Republicans brag about park attendance being up, despite higher fees. I'm just guessing, but that means the problem is even worse than we thought:
Republicans removed all state support for Wisconsin’s parks in the 2015 budget, leaving the parks to survive on fees alone. They raised admission and camping fees ... but the DNR still projects the lack of state support will leave a $1.4 million annual deficit in the agency’s parks account.Hunting and Fishing: Now, after Scott Walker dramatically cut the size of the DNR, they're facing a $5 million budget shortfall.
A $5 million budget shortfall could be fixed temporarily through higher prices for hunting and fishing licenses, new admission charges for non-hunters using natural areas, new registration fees for paddlers, and a smaller annual boosts tied to inflation.
Yup, one of the states biggest bragging points, tourism and outdoor sports, could soon be priced out reach for your average Wisconsinite. And this is only the beginning of the problem. These shortfalls will only keep growing as the state moves from a state supported funding system to an individual user fee, which as anybody can tell you, is much more expensive.
Scientifically conducted household surveys in 2016 found that a majority of the public would support having everyone pay something for fish and wildlife management, the report said ... others collect sales tax or lottery revenue dedicated to wildlife management, the report said.
You may want to get your owned framed copy of the following policy statement so often reported in the media, because to tightwad Republicans its an oldie but a goodie:
The Legislature has resisted requests from the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation for higher fees, and Walker has opposed tax or fee increases unless they are paired with decreases in other budget lines.
Walker's Deer Hunting Debacle: I've been covering this for awhile now, and ever since Walker brought in a Texas "deer czar" pushing game farms, and not science, deer hunting has hit the skids. Nothings working guys, hunting near schools, in local parks, getting rid of the minimum age to hunt, blaze pink clothing, nothing. Funnier still, the DNR blamed the "cold" and "wind" for the low turnout of our rugged outdoors-men:
Notably, hunter participation also was down. The agency sold 598,867 gun licenses, a 40-year low and the first time the number has dipped below 600,000 since 1976. Hunters registered 196,785 deer during the 2016 Wisconsin gun deer season, the lowest total in 34 years.
What can be done?
A longer term solution may involve looking beyond user fees ... (fees have the) potential to harm state efforts aimed at reversing a decline in hunting ... The DNR outlined other alternatives that include cuts to wildlife and fish-stocking programs and new efforts to attract more people to hunting and fishing.
Cuts to wildlife and fish-stocking seems counter-intuitive, ya think.