Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wildlife's budget

It won't be getting any federal stimulus help but the Ohio Division of Wildlife is fiscally healthy anyway.

In fact, the agency's budget is going to include spending $16.3 million over the next 8 1/2 years to install a new way to issue hunting and fishing licenses as well as permits.

Through this process the agency's proposed 2010 fiscal budget calls for spending $65 million while its fiscal 2011 budget is pegged at $60 million.

The agency will be nipping and tucking its assests, however.

Instead of trading in county wildlife officer vehicles at 90,000 miles these patrol cars will be run until the odometer reads 125,000.

That action will help the Wildlife Division though it will hurt the Division of Parks and Recreation. Wildlife turns over its vehicles after use to the Parks Division for its rangers' use.

Other recreational interest groups will benefit by the federal stimulus, though. And thank the juicing of politicians.

Prospective buyers of motorcycles will be able to deduct the sales tax this year, credit being given to Wisconsin's Congressional delegation.

Not surprisingly, Wisconsin is where the crop of Harley Davidson motorbikes are made, and the company had threatened to lay off more than 1,000 employees.

Pity that Mercury Marine didn't seek the same help, or if it did it came too late. Mercury has a HUGE manufacturing plant in Wisconsin.

Not lost either is that buyers of RVs also will be able to deduct their sales tax on their 2009 income tax forms. That's because Indiana's smart RV industry lobbied its Congressional delegation.

So where does this leave us? We have an economic highway rife with potholes and an uneven filler patch effort to heal these wounds.

It's not going to be an easy job of recovering from this near depression but at least the Wildlife Division is in better shape than its sibling agencies.

Still, even the Wildlife Division must watch its spending carefully. If nothing else then not to draw too much unwanted attention to itself.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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