La. Departments of Wildlife, Fisheries to seek fee increases

La. Departments of Wildlife, Fisheries to seek fee increases

(The Center Square) – The heads of two state agencies – one in charge of hunting and fishing, the other overseeing environmental protection – told the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday they intend to seek higher fees.

Jack Montoucet, who leads Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, wants to raise the price of user fees such as the cost of recreational hunting and fishing licenses. He said the fees have not been adjusted in 20 years even though the department has taken on additional duties.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has included a $17 million infusion in his proposed budget for next fiscal year as a short-term fix. Montoucet didn’t lay out the details of his fee increase proposal, which the Louisiana Legislature would have to approve, but he said it would raise an additional $17 million annually.

Declining mineral revenue and people buying lifetime licenses are among the main reasons for the revenue decline, officials said.

Fees paid by users, not general taxes, typically have funded his department, and Montoucet said that’s the way it should be.

“Our programs are user-pay,” he said. “If you use the resources, you pay for the resources.”

 

 

 

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