Minnesota DNR on how fishing license dollars are spent
Minnesota DNR's Fisheries Chief, Dirk Peterson, sent out a release describing how money is spent from the sale of state fishing licenses.
According to Peterson, the DNR's fisheries section has a yearly operating budget of about $35 million. About 50 percent of that amount – or $18 million – comes from anglers who purchase a fishing license or stamps. About 32 percent of the budget is derived from a federal tax on fishing gear. Minnesota State Lottery revenues account for 12 percent. And four other funds – clean water, water recreation, special revenue, and gift –round out the remaining 4-plus percent of operating budget revenues.
"Most of what we do is funded by the anglers who buy licenses and stamps," said Peterson. "The state's General Fund does not pay for fish management." He also said that Legacy Amendment tax revenues "have yet to contribute in a significant way, either."
Peterson said federal revenue the Fisheries Section receives, commonly known as federal aid reimbursement, is a critical component of the Fisheries Section's budget. This program, though little known, was authorized under the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950. Its revenues are derived by a 10 percent manufacturing tax on fishing rods, reels, tackle and other angling equipment, plus a 3 percent or less tax on electric trolling motors and other fishing-related items.
"When an angler buys a piece of fishing equipment, he or she doesn't pay the tax at the checkout counter," said Peterson. "Instead, manufacturers – companies such as Rapala, Water Gremlin, and Northland Tackle – pay an excise tax to the federal government. Ultimately, the Minnesota DNR receives a portion of those funds based on the number of anglers it licenses and the geographic size of the state."
This apportionment is captured by DNR through fisheries-related program expenditures and a 75 percent reimbursement of those eligible expenses.
Here's how the DNR use its fisheries section budget, according to the release:
The biggest slice of the budget pays for lake and stream surveys and assessments, including fish population surveys and other inventories of water chemistry and biological information.
Other major expenditures include improving habitat and raising and stocking fish. Education, outreach, planning, and program support round out the remaining portion of the budget.