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    Fees Equal Taxes When It Comes To Land Use - Desert Rat - The Premier Hunting and Fishing Blog of the Southwest!

    Fees Equal Taxes When It Comes To Land Use

    This is from a great piece in the Tribune: Our View: State land use fee hike another tax

    Our View: State land use fee hike another tax
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    Tribune Editorial

    Folk singer Woody Guthrie crooned that “this land is your land, this land is my land” — what he forgot to tell us was that it was going to cost us to enjoy it.

    In Monday’s Tribune, Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services reported that Arizona’s Land Department is hiking the fees to go hiking — or camping or to watch birds or ride horses — on state-owned land from $15 a year to $50 a year (fees for family passes go from $20 to $75). Land Department officials need to offset the $3.1 million that the Legislature cut from their budget to help reduce the state’s ocean of red ink; those same lawmakers gave the department the OK to increase fees to help shore up its budget.

    Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers warned us of this ploy in his Aug. 17 commentary (“We must keep tabs on lawmakers’ budget trickery,” Opinion 2). He wrote:

    “The Arizona Legislature must have a two-thirds vote to raise your taxes. However, the Legislature and the governor have found a stealth way around this. They cut certain budgets, but then granted unlimited fee (tax) authority to several agencies.”

    So why not just purchase the less-expensive license and join the protected class of hunters and anglers? State Game and Fish Department spokesman Rory Aikens told Fischer that to be considered “actively hunting or fishing” you have to use the implements of the activity.

    “If I just see you riding your quad around and you just happen to have your pistol strapped to your hip, buddy, you ain’t hunting,” he said, adding, “Fire it around … Then you’re legal.”

    The tongue-in-cheek advocacy of indiscriminate use of a firearm notwithstanding, this has potential to create an enforcement mess for Game and Fish agents in the field.

    Read the full article at the link above. Other than the dig against “protected class” of hunters and anglers - obviously the Trib writer doesn’t get what hunting license fees are used for, or Pittman-Robertson funds - I would say that I have to agree. “Cut our budget? We’ll just increase the fees.” Sounds like a tax increase to me..

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