January 30, 2023

Minnesota House Approves Dedicating Funds For Hunting and Fishing Habitat

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There is one thing that appears both Houses and both parties agree on, the need to dedicate money from sales taxes to go toward improving and protecting habitat for hunting and fishing. Another thing that is certain, both sides can’t agree on how to get it done.

The Senate passed a version earlier that would increase taxes and appropriate $270 million a year to the program. The House’s version would take a percentage out of existing taxes that would total $135 million a year.

As you might guess the differences follow party lines with the Republicans opting to not raise taxes, the Democrats saying they won’t cut existing programs to make it happen. The Republican version would take affect in 2009, giving the Legislature a chance to shuffle funding for programs to make it happen. The Dems want it to take affect immediately by raising taxes.

This is typical political wrangling and hopefully a plan will be adopted that will fund the needed habitat protection program. The message that the Minnesota Legislature is sending is that the state supports hunting and fishing. It lets everyone know that these two activities are valued and are apart of the heritage of Minnesota.

The bill, either version, is being presented as an amendment to the state Constitution making it a permanent change. This sends a very loud message to a lot of people. More states need to consider similar legislation that will protect the heritage of hunting and fishing through Constitutional Amendments.

Let’s hope both Houses can reach consensus and get this amendment passed. The sooner the better.

Tom Remington