It was all well and good that our Gov. John Kasich made a high-minded pledge to not raid hunting and fishing license dollars given the tough economy, this during a political rah-rah at the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance’s “Save Our Heritage” fund-raiser rally. Well and good theater, that is.
But guess what, his was an empty promise. He cannot raid the Wildlife Find, regardless. Other governors and state lawmakers have attempted to steal away these funds for other uses any number of times, to no avail.
These are designated funds, in essence user-fees earmarked for specific purposes.
They in effect are additional “taxes” that sportsmen and sportswomen agree to pay [licenses and fees] to enhance hunting and fishing opportunities, over and above all the other taxes that they pay as members of the general citizenry. They are not discretionary and the governor knows better. Worse, the USSA itself has railed long and loudly against such raids when other administrations and legislatures have tried to do so. Maybe that means you can get away with anything if you are of a certain political persuasion and nothing if of another.
So while Kasich’s remarks apparently played well to a crowd predisposed to his make-believe, they hold no water. They had no more impact that his written pledge, signed last July at Fish Ohio Day at Lake Erie, not to drill for oil or gas under the lake. That already is banned by federal declaration. Moreover, poll after poll has shown Ohioans of all stripes overwhelmingly are opposed to messing with the lake bottom. A politician would have to be a fool’s fool to try drilling under Erie, and bared to explain it in response to lawsuits.
Of course, such considerations have little bearing on a politico’s chance to play to an eager unquestioning audience and chalk up cheap points. The fact that Kasich’s listeners at the USSA fete were so seemingly receptive – polite or intimidated??? — shows how little the sporting public knows or understands or cares about the way things work or about the history of political shenanigans in their own state. For shame.