Battle lines drawn over Ohio license fee increases
It would appear that the real argument has moved beyond the dollars and cents question of increases to Ohio’s resident fishing and hunting license fees.
More than anything it is now a matter of controlling the destiny of fish and wildlife management and related law enforcement efforts in the state — in effect, who is at the helm and steering the ship.
What we have then – what we are seeing now – is a good old-fashioned political cat fight with the Kasich Administration-appointed Ohio Department of Natural Resources leadership on one side of the line drawn in the sand and sportsmen-led groups and their associated allies standing firm on the other side.
Clearly the argument for increases to non-resident fees is a cause that both sides believe in as being fair and equitable. However, even here the image is left blurred as to whether the intent of the fee enrichment proposal is to actually raise revenue for the increasingly cash-strapped Ohio Division of Wildlife or the measure is a thinly disguised effort to pull the “welcome” mat out from in front of Ohio’s prestigious deer-hunting doorstep.
In any event, the tit-for-tat battle over increases to resident hunting and fishing license fees has reached a fever pitch. And this heated skirmish is flooding the state legislature with an intensified lobbying effort by the sportsmen-group-led aggregate. In turn, that challenge is being countered by an Administration scared to death over anything that smacks of a tax increase. And make no mistake, license fees are taxes.
Read more of this opinion column in the June 23 issue of Ohio Outdoor News.