2009 Regulations Update
A year ago when the Regulations Committee began its annual review of the Wildlife Code of Missouri, the main topic was how to continue providing quality hunting and fishing opportunities with the rising costs of supplies and the likelihood of continued lagging revenue from the 1/8th of 1 percent sales tax—the Department’s main funding source. Raising permit prices, many of which haven’t been raised in more than five years, and some as long as 10 years, was suggested.
Another idea was to find more ways to return federal excise tax to Missouri. Federal excise tax is collected whenever anyone purchases hunting and fishing equipment. The money is distributed to the states based on the number of hunters and anglers who purchase a hunting or fishing permit that year. Those who do not purchase at least one permit, such as many seniors and some landowners, see their federal excise tax sent to other states. Obviously, we’d prefer Missourian’s tax payment be directed to the payers’ home state.
The rationale for increasing revenue was to continue services that Missourians have come to expect. With current funding, the Department will have less money to spend on fish stocking, dove hunting fields, wetland management, landowner assistance, law enforcement, education and other programs. The plan to bring in additional money included:
- raising permit prices
- setting up a new permit system for seniors age 60 through 64 that provided discounts on permits and allowed them to be counted for federal excise tax purposes after age 65
- reducing the number of no-cost deer and turkey hunting permits issued to landowners
The Commission passed the permit package at the end of September just as news of the looming economic crisis began to arrive, and Missourians let us know in a flurry of phone calls, e-mails and visits that they did not like some of the proposals, especially in tough economic times. As a result, we will not raise resident prices in 2009. In fact, prices for youth permits have been lowered. Nonresidents, however, will pay more. The senior permit package was scrapped because new federal laws may provide fewer returns than initially expected from this program. Also, resident landowners of five or more acres will continue to get the same number of no-cost permits as they did last year.
While some might not agree with the decisions made this year, Department staff listened to all comments and