Archive for Thursday, March 1, 2012

Statehouse Live: Proposal to charge senior citizens to hunt, fish faces stiff opposition

March 1, 2012


— Kansas Secretary of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Robin Jennison is trying to find the right bait to get the Legislature to bite on a proposal to charge senior citizens for fishing and hunting permits.

Kansans who are 65 and older are currently exempt from paying for hunting and fishing fees. The annual permits cost $20.50 each.

At the start of the legislative session, Jennison, who is facing a funding crisis in maintaining state parks, initially proposed removing the fee exemptions for people 65 or older. That caused a public outcry.

On Thursday, Jennison tried to soften the blow. He said the agency was now considering a proposal that would give seniors the option of paying for an annual half-price license or purchasing a senior pass, which could cost $50, and be good for the lifetime of the holder.

“We are trying to be fair,” Jennison told the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

Committee members voiced support for Jennison in trying to reach a compromise, but also noted the idea of charging seniors was politically difficult.

“This bill has an uphill battle,” said Sen. Mark Taddiken, R-Clifton.

Committee Chairman Ralph Ostmeyer, R-Grinnell, said when he explains to constituents, who are angry about the proposal, that it is needed to maintain parks facilities, “I think it mellows them down. It doesn’t put the fire out.”

Jennison said he doesn’t think it’s unfair to charge seniors. He noted that probably 90 percent of the people who fish at Lake Perry are seniors.

Jennison said the agency is in a difficult position because it doesn’t get state tax dollars and is in need of funds for major repairs and maintenance at several parks. When he tells people who call him about this issue, they understand, he said.

“Anybody that loves the outdoors, when they understand the issue, they do not have a problem with this at all,” he said.

The Kansas State Rifle Association, Silverhaired Legislature and the Kansas Areas on Aging Association oppose repealing the exemption for seniors regarding the payment of license fees for hunting and fishing.

But Spencer Tomb, a retiree from Manhattan, spoke in favor of charging seniors. He said the license fees are only small parts of the overall costs of hunting and fishing. And, he said, with people living longer, and being more active in retirement, the exemptions for seniors were costing the state a lot of money.


riverdrifter 3 years, 7 months ago

I bought my lifetime hunt and fish license in 1988 so I don't have a dog in this hunt. The demographic has changed and retired boomers need to pony up for KDWP. The proposed senior pass for 50 bucks seems reasonable and a good deal as well. The best thing to do is if your kid hunts and/or fishes, get them into the lifetime license early on.

tolawdjk 3 years, 7 months ago

Amen. My folks bought me my lifetime hunting license when I turned 14. Now, no matter where I live, its $60 plus gas to fill the freezer for the year. It hasn't paid off so well with upland birds as most of the old haunts have gone over to "paid preserves" as the land is passed on to a younger generation.

But as long as it is easier to spook up a deer while looking for a covey of quail, I'll be using my lifetime license.

Personally, I think they should package deal it. Buy a kid a lifetime license before he turns 16 and get a senior pass for free. Many seniors I know and knew would bitch a mile long to spend a nickel on themselves but have no problems getting the grandkids something.

Then that kid has a lifetime excuse to come back home, pump some dollars into a rural economy in gas, meals and lodging and teach a new generation of outdoorsmen. All cause grandpa wanted to keep fishin.

Laura Wilson 3 years, 7 months ago

Y'know, if you can afford the gun or the fishing equipment, you can afford the license, especially if they go with the $50 lifetime one.

1983Hawk 3 years, 7 months ago

Heaven forbid lazy old farts with an entitlement mentality should ever lose any special exemption like this. They have a verrrrry busy schedule of attending wack-job tea party rallies so they can rant and rave about how the younger generation is soaking up too much in tax dollars via public sector largesse, all the while waiting for those Social Security checks to show up every month.

jesse499 3 years, 7 months ago

Entiltement my A$$ we paid for it over 45 years of hard work something you wouldn't know anything about. Just like SS you call that entitlement my empolyer and I paid into it for 45 years and your buddys in Washington stole it now their calling it entitlement someone better not say that crap to my face or I'll show them what their entitlement is.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

Republicans love new taxes no matter what they say.....

And tax increases for the less fortunate

In essence they lie more than some..... that is some achievement.

costello 3 years, 7 months ago

Are people over 65 who are vigorous enough to hunt and fish among the less fortunate? ;)

costello 3 years, 7 months ago

"But Spencer Tomb, a retiree from Manahattan, spoke in favor of charging seniors. He said the license fees are only small parts of the overall costs of hunting and fishing. And, he said, with people living longer, and being more active in retirement, the exemptions for seniors were costing the state a lot of money."

Maybe they should just raise the age to 70 or 75.

Actually I don't see the problem with charging seniors. My mom will be 82 in June, and frankly she's better off financially than any of her kids.

tomatogrower 3 years, 7 months ago

I have to agree with this rate hike. This is another case of people whining about the poor state of a park when they visit it and use it, but aren't willing to help pay for it. Kind of like a conservative whining about paying taxes and complaining about the state of roads in the same breath. If a senior citizen doesn't want to pay to play in state parks, let them buy their own property and create a private park.

TongiJayhawk 3 years, 7 months ago

Exactly!! How about everyone pay the same. If age is a factor then why not, military, firefighter, police, teachers etc....... Again, how about everyone pay the same. I only get to fish on the weekends because of work, but the old guys on the lake can tell me how they have been biting all week! Most will get more use out of a license than I do!

Cant_have_it_both_ways 3 years, 7 months ago

Looking for new revenue streams on the backs of those who, many of them put into the system all their lives. Now lets charge the retired people, ones with limited sources of income to enjoy what they have provided for all their lives, while at the same time, keep giving more to people on welfare.

Seems to me, that if the state needs additional capitol, they should take it from those who do nothing but leech off the system and for the most part, are able to work.

I am not against everyone having to pay to hunt or fish, might even make it better as they too, have skin in the game. But if they are going to charge old people, then they need to charge everybody and not let the Indians, or any other group slide.

chootspa 3 years, 7 months ago

You're right. They really should charge more for retirees and give it to rich people for free if they want to get this thing in line with the Brownback agenda.

FlintlockRifle 3 years, 7 months ago

Bought licenses all my younger days, ever since a nice warden said "son your past kids age" young man go into town and buy a license, yes I did just that and did same thing for 50 years got free license 10 years ago,

billbodiggens 3 years, 7 months ago

I don’t care how old they get, and I am almost there myself. A few short years to go. They still consume the resources, yet they want them for free. At what point in age should a person demand that they no longer accept any responsibility for anything, including paying for what they consume. I would suggest the correct age for that is when that person dies. If you are old enough to vote you are still old enough to pay for what the state provides to you especially when it is recreation. The state is not obligated to provide anyone with a good time, young or old.

jesse499 3 years, 7 months ago

Just who do you think paid for building ithem in the first place.Do you think Brownbutt or Obama or the guys before them used their own money it wouldn't be here if we didn't pay for it with out taxes.

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