Alt funding for MFWP?

JLS

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Alternative funding is a scary issue. On one hand, it's easy to view it as a slippery slope that you can't get off of once you start. HOWEVER, Ben already hit on it in the article. The North American model does not exclude anyone as a citizen with vested interest and ownership in the wildlife of the state. This is often forgotten, and sometimes it's easy to assume that we as hunters have more vested interest when in reality we're just footing more of the bills.

FWP spends a lot of money on managing wildlife that really doesn't benefit hunters. How much time and money is spent trapping and relocating problem bears? Mountain lions that get in trouble? Other public safety wildlife issues? What about patrolling the Blackfoot River to keep it from turning into a beer can landfill? These aren't hunters and anglers that are necessitating these efforts, yet they pay for them.

It's a complex issue, but I believe that the financial burden does not need to fall squarely on hunters and anglers (of course I'm more sensitive to this as a NR) when in reality the entire population of the state is benefiting from it's natural resources.

In the end, you can't just turn folks away and tell them "we don't want your money and you get no say in this issue". They own the wildlife too.
 

Big Fin

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http://helenair.com/news/local/disc...cle_f082c4b2-8850-5974-8405-b9e874853548.html

Groups like Defenders already have a say in how things are managed. They didn't act in good faith with the wolf issue IMO. I don't think giving them an additional financial lever is an especially good idea. What you say?

I completely agree. They want to have a say, but they don't want to pay any of the freight. I'll try to remain calm while writing this.

I listen/read about the wolf stamp idea. If they want to help fund wolf management, they can go buy all kinds of wolf tags and throw them in the trash. That money will help with wolf management. When presented with that option, they state they will not fund in that manner if it involves killing wolves.

So, are they serious about wolf management or do they just want to tell us how it should be?

I look at most the folks at that table who claim to represent other "users" and most their membership is from out of state. I really have no use for someone in DC, NYC, LA, or XYZ having a seat at the table via their little store front office down on Main Street in Bozeman. They don't represent main stream Montana any more than does the Association of New Jersey Left-handed Club-foot Poodle Owners.


Hunters better wake up and see where this is going. Our bitching and moaning about increasing resident fees, even to something far below historic inflation rates, is providing this crack in the door where other groups see a starved agency needing to expand their funding. Even with the recent fee increase passed by the legislature, which as a very small amount, residents in Montana enjoy embarrassing low fees for hunting and fishing. And it is going to have consequences.

It comes down to this - Are we gonna pony up and keep our seats at the table, or are going to buy new trucks, beer, etc and let the other groups buy our seats for pennies on the dollar?

For me, the entire premise that other groups should be allowed a seat at the tables in some sort of equivalent number of fashion is bullchit. Should the interests of all citizens be represented? Yes. But not by a bunch of paid professional litigators who care nothing about fishing, hunting, habitat, and the model that got us here. I would give them one seat, a non-voting seat, until such time they decide to start paying their way.

These groups had their chance in 2000 when the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) was in Congress. It would have imposed a very small tax on recreation equipment and built a model similar to the Pittman-Robertson for hunting/shooting and Dingell-Johnson used for fishing.

What happened to CARA?

When it got to committees, the outdoor recreation industry killed it. They and their lobbyists were on Congress like a rat on a Cheeto. Those of us fighting to get it passed got steam rolled. I'm still pissed about it and what a parasitic mindset it represents. Given the way hunters whine about resident fee increases these days, I worry that if P-R was introduced into Congress now, rather than in 1937, it would suffer a similar fate. I hope not.

After them killing CARA, the can go blow smoke up some other kilt when it comes to wanting to participate in funding. I ain't buying their sales pitch that they want to be part of the solution. They have no interest in contributing to the solution. They want to call the tune and have some one else pay the fiddler. They can pound that in their ear, as far as I'm concerned. As can any resident who bitches about their fees and is willing to let our seats be sold to these groups for nothing more than promises and threats.

I'll leave the soap box now.
 

RobG

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Alternative funding is a scary issue. On one hand, it's easy to view it as a slippery slope that you can't get off of once you start. HOWEVER, Ben already hit on it in the article. The North American model does not exclude anyone as a citizen with vested interest and ownership in the wildlife of the state. This is often forgotten, and sometimes it's easy to assume that we as hunters have more vested interest when in reality we're just footing more of the bills.

FWP spends a lot of money on managing wildlife that really doesn't benefit hunters. How much time and money is spent trapping and relocating problem bears? Mountain lions that get in trouble? Other public safety wildlife issues? What about patrolling the Blackfoot River to keep it from turning into a beer can landfill? These aren't hunters and anglers that are necessitating these efforts, yet they pay for them.

It's a complex issue, but I believe that the financial burden does not need to fall squarely on hunters and anglers (of course I'm more sensitive to this as a NR) when in reality the entire population of the state is benefiting from it's natural resources.

In the end, you can't just turn folks away and tell them "we don't want your money and you get no say in this issue". They own the wildlife too.
They already have a lot of say - you don't have to buy a license to keep MFWP accountable to the science. For example, non-hunters heavily influence how wolves are managed. And donations are accepted.


When I was a kid the agency was "Montana Fish and Game," but somehow Parks and Wildlife got included... not sure how that happened and I don't know how those sections are funded. I know you can contribute to the non-game fund on your tax return. At any rate these folks aren't at the table to give us more money to police the bikini hatch, and the legislature is the one pretty much setting the budget.
 

JLS

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I fully understand that non-hunters influenced how wolves are managed. And no, you don't have to buy a license to file a lawsuit against FWP.

My point is that the non hunting and non fishing general public derive benefit from Montana's natural resources, access points, wildlife areas, etc. They are able to use them for their beneft, but at no cost. The sportsmen pick up the tab for that. While I fully agree with Randy in that Montana residents are absolutely pathetic in their willingness to pay a fair rate for what they get, the sportsmen don't necessarily need to pay for everything.
 

Ben Lamb

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I fully understand that non-hunters influenced how wolves are managed. And no, you don't have to buy a license to file a lawsuit against FWP.

My point is that the non hunting and non fishing general public derive benefit from Montana's natural resources, access points, wildlife areas, etc. They are able to use them for their beneft, but at no cost. The sportsmen pick up the tab for that. While I fully agree with Randy in that Montana residents are absolutely pathetic in their willingness to pay a fair rate for what they get, the sportsmen don't necessarily need to pay for everything.

Agreed.

It's easy to focus on the NGO's that were in the room rather than the actual issue of sustainable, long term funding for the agency.

We know that volunteer efforts traditionally do not provide that kind of revenue necessary to make the long term planning that is critical for wildlife management. Saying that people should buy a license and contribute that way ignores their values and their willingness to purchase a license.

The discussion was pretty far ranging and it focused on areas of agreement, which I would note most of the sportsmen's organizations had no problem interacting with the enviro groups at the table, and there were a lot of shared laughs as well as recognition of each other's help during the last session.

What I took away was not so much about power and who controls what but that we need to find a way to sustain the agency in order to maintain our heritage and our way of life both for those who hunt & fish and those who don't. I'd like to see some local businesses at the table and a few more from Ag as well.

The discussion about different ways to fund the agency was good and there seemed to be some decent concepts generated from the moving of FWP employee benefits over to the general fund (should free up about $4-5 million annually) to a percentage of the gas tax.

I'm glad FWP is convening these meetings and it seems like there is broad support for the discussion. Hopefully we don't get into a situation like Idaho, where SFW and the whackos skuttled talks before they could lead to something worthwhile.
 

RobG

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Yes Ben, ya right, we need to "lose focus" on the non-hunters who are salivating at this. Don't worry, they won't get their way because we are Montana, and when they don't get their way they will continue to heap money on us just because they feel guilty not paying for the services MWFP offers. Seriously, don't focus on who is interested in this?

I agree that expanding funding would be nice. The legislature doesn't want that as they won't tap the general fund and they also like to use funding as a lever to get what they want. Bed taxes, etc don't seem to be workable at the moment. In fact, the legislature would rather MFWP remained starved.

However, we do have a proven willing funder: non-residents that will pay a premium for the certainty of getting a license, previously in the form of outfitter sponsored tags. You could drop the NR tag prices back where the common man could afford to apply for them, thus requiring the lottery, and bring back the premium that would allow certainty to getting one. It wouldn't even have to be outfitter sponsored, which would require a repeal of I-161.
 

JLS

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Right, because tiered licensing systems aren't an erosion of the North American model? Why not maintain the integrity of a single priced licensing system and have people pay their way that currently aren't paying anything?
 

RobG

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Right, because tiered licensing systems aren't an erosion of the North American model?
Some people have decided that the so called "tiered" system is an erosion but that doesn't make it true. It worked well in the past. The NA model hardly crumbled.

Why not maintain the integrity of a single priced licensing system and have people pay their way that currently aren't paying anything?
Because they people that pay into are not sympathetic to hunters and they will expect something in return. If they want to start their own Blackfoot beer police fund I'm all for that, but that is not what their agenda is.

FWP might be able to help manage the bikini hatch problem with launch fees. Ultimately though, the legislature will starve the agency.
 

shoots-straight

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Yes Ben, ya right, we need to "lose focus" on the non-hunters who are salivating at this. Don't worry, they won't get their way because we are Montana, and when they don't get their way they will continue to heap money on us just because they feel guilty not paying for the services MWFP offers. Seriously, don't focus on who is interested in this?

I agree that expanding funding would be nice. The legislature doesn't want that as they won't tap the general fund and they also like to use funding as a lever to get what they want. Bed taxes, etc don't seem to be workable at the moment. In fact, the legislature would rather MFWP remained starved.

However, we do have a proven willing funder: non-residents that will pay a premium for the certainty of getting a license, previously in the form of outfitter sponsored tags. You could drop the NR tag prices back where the common man could afford to apply for them, thus requiring the lottery, and bring back the premium that would allow certainty to getting one. It wouldn't even have to be outfitter sponsored, which would require a repeal of I-161.

I don't think you've been paying attention to the math on that subject. We are making a lot more money now than when we had OSL. Even with less tags overall sold.
 

RobG

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I don't think you've been paying attention to the math on that subject. We are making a lot more money now than when we had OSL. Even with less tags overall sold.
I know you are very defensive about this, but no, I have been paying attention and understand the entire picture, especially the part you left out. The increased revenue came from the substantially increased price. This was necessary because you gave up a huge revenue source. This was well known from the start - it's not even a debatable topic. You could have made even more money with a moderate price increase and keeping the outfitter tags. Again, this isn't even debatable. You threw out a lucrative funding source. Again, not debatable.

According to http://leg.mt.gov/content/Committee...ic-Comment/hb609-publiccommentdraftreport.pdf the I-161 mandated annual price increases are a concern since they will further drop demand. (From http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/licenses/licensingAdvisoryCouncil/).

So, given a choice between relying on anti-hunters who want to change policy for our funding or rich hunters who want certainty, I'll take the latter proven method. That question is the only thing debatable here. I know you are sensitive on the subject, but that is the truth.

Regarding the general fund, according to the above pdf
The 2014 Wyoming Legislature again declined to increase license fees, but shifted the cost of
some programs to the state general fund, including:
- $4.7 million for Game and Fish employees' health insurance;
- $2 million for grizzly bear management; and
- $1.5 million for veterinary services, sensitive species, wolves, sage grouse, and aquatic
invasive species
Not huge compared to their $50.7 million license revenues, but enough to help for a while. However, the document says that they didn't believe financing from the general fund would gain the support of the legislature. I assume the legislature also wouldn't buy into giving Defenders more influence, but I don't know what say they would have in that.
 

JLS

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Some people have decided that the so called "tiered" system is an erosion but that doesn't make it true. It worked well in the past. The NA model hardly crumbled.


Because they people that pay into are not sympathetic to hunters and they will expect something in return. If they want to start their own Blackfoot beer police fund I'm all for that, but that is not what their agenda is.

FWP might be able to help manage the bikini hatch problem with launch fees. Ultimately though, the legislature will starve the agency.

When you asked the original question, did you want intelligent discourse or just to be a smartass to anyone that didn't agree with you?

I can guarantee that the "bikini hatch" on the Blackfoot is not the only example of non hunters/anglers putting pressure on a resource. Nor is it the only example of people benefiting from a resource without any financial support whatsoever. If you think that's the summation of it then you should open your eyes a little wider.
 

antlerradar

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I am not sure that all of the people that bought the lower priced tags would be back. Many of them have likely already found an alternative to hunting in Montana and it will be tough to entice them to return.

I suspect that it won't be long and some will suggest that the way to deal with the underfunding is to make available high dollar guaranteed licenses in premium areas like 270 deer and Breaks Elk.

Antlerradar
 

RobG

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When you asked the original question, did you want intelligent discourse or just to be a smartass to anyone that didn't agree with you?

I can guarantee that the "bikini hatch" on the Blackfoot is not the only example of non hunters/anglers putting pressure on a resource. Nor is it the only example of people benefiting from a resource without any financial support whatsoever. If you think that's the summation of it then you should open your eyes a little wider.

Sorry, I wasn't meaning to sound smartassed. And upon rereading I don't think I did, to you anyway (Ben, verymuchso). Again, these people who are interested in this alternative funding aren't interested in help police the bikini hatch (that is what it is called on the Madison) or any other of the things you allude to. If the contribution isn't used to achieve their goals they will drop out. In fact, they could use the threat of dropping out as a way of getting their way.

So my non-smartassed answer to your comment is that, yes, it is unfair that non hunter/anglers are benefiting on the backs of hunters/anglers, but this won't get those users to contribute any more. That is the hole in your argument I am trying to point out.
 

RobG

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I am not sure that all of the people that bought the lower priced tags would be back. Many of them have likely already found an alternative to hunting in Montana and it will be tough to entice them to return.

I suspect that it won't be long and some will suggest that the way to deal with the underfunding is to make available high dollar guaranteed licenses in premium areas like 270 deer and Breaks Elk.

Antlerradar
You could be correct.
 

JLS

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Sorry, I wasn't meaning to sound smartassed. And upon rereading I don't think I did, to you anyway (Ben, verymuchso). Again, these people who are interested in this alternative funding aren't interested in help police the bikini hatch (that is what it is called on the Madison) or any other of the things you allude to. If the contribution isn't used to achieve their goals they will drop out. In fact, they could use the threat of dropping out as a way of getting their way.

So my non-smartassed answer to your comment is that, yes, it is unfair that non hunter/anglers are benefiting on the backs of hunters/anglers, but this won't get those users to contribute any more. That is the hole in your argument I am trying to point out.

I'm not talking about a voluntary contribution. I'm talking about permanent funding solutions, like a portion of a gas tax, a user fee/access pass required for all FWP lands, etc. General fund monies, while entirely appropriate for a decent share of FWPs budget, are a tenuous funding source because that is the first thing to get slashed during tough economic times.
 

RobG

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I'm not talking about a voluntary contribution. I'm talking about permanent funding solutions, like a portion of a gas tax, a user fee/access pass required for all FWP lands, etc. General fund monies, while entirely appropriate for a decent share of FWPs budget, are a tenuous funding source because that is the first thing to get slashed during tough economic times.

I'm pretty much on board with that. Also move some costs to the general fund (and I mentioned launch fees). But, as the report I linked to above mentioned, the team didn't think the legislature would go for it. I could be wrong, but in my opinion that is the unfortunate reality - no matter what funding sources we have, the legislature does not want to lose control of MFWP so they will always be asking for money. Now they will have to do it every 4 years instead of 10 years so they will (IMO) be even less independent.

Take a peak at the page I linked to. Maybe others have more information on the subject.
 

hank4elk

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The funding issue is not just in MT.
NM resident hunters pay a fraction of what most others do,and want more for less still,as the non paying groups take more for nothing.
Don't know how many times I sat at a USFS discussion table as a peer reviewer who has paid in his whole life and there sits Audabon,Sierra Club,etc at the table dictating how things will go and they pay nothing in and take instead.
It is their agenda....and it is working.
 
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