Amend constitution to fund Maine’s DIF&W?

Below I’ve linked to an interesting DownEast.com blog by George Smith of Mount Vernon on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and its funding.

Currently, fees from fishermen and hunters alone fund the department that takes on a very broad set of responsibilities. The agency also provides services to Mainers who do not fish or hunt.

A coalition including the Nature Conservancy, Maine Audubon, and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine is suggesting that the Maine Constitution be amended “by dedicating 1/8th percent of the sales tax receipts to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.”

Frankly, I’m unclear if that means an increase in the sales tax or merely a realignment of how the sales tax revenue is spent. I’m guessing it probably means an increase. But it might be worth it given the broad responsibilities the agency takes on and the fact that some Mainers receiving a benefit are not paying for DIF&W services.

By the way, according to DownEast.com, Smith is “a columnist, TV show host, executive director of the state’s largest sportsmen’s organization, political and public policy consultant, hunter, angler, and avid birder and most proud of his three children and grandson.” He also works for one of the three groups offering the idea to change the constitution, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

Here’s a link to George’s Outdoor News blog.

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