Are these the same legislators preventing the PGC from a license increase?
No Fishing license increase til they force Arway out.
FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
Trout dispute roils agency
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
Of all the sources of discord in Harrisburg, trout usually isn’t one of them.
But a proposal to increase fishing-license fees has turned into a dispute that has lawmakers hoping to oust the head of the Fish and Boat Commission.
Without the longsought fee increase, Commission Director John Arway said last fall, some state hatcheries would have to close — meaning 240,000 fewer fish in state-stocked streams and lakes next year.
But some lawmakers perceived the costcutting announcement as a threat to leave their hometown waters empty of stocked trout.
Now, lawmakers want Arway out and say they won’t pass the bill allowing the commission to raise prices until he’s gone.
“Even if the cure for cancer was within that licensing bill, I don’t think there would be the motivation for the members of the committee or the House to pass it,” said House Game and Fisheries Chair Keith Gillespie, R-York.
He and his counterpart in the Senate both said they will pass the fishing bill only if they can pass a bill to oust Arway first. Thus, what seemed to be a quest for a simple fee increase — $6 the first year and 3 percent annually over the next four years — has fallen prey to Harrisburg dysfunction.
“We’re going to have to wait for a different political climate,” said Senate Game and Fisheries Chair Patrick Stefano,
R-Fayette County. “(Arway) is, right now, the major impediment of anything moving in our committees.”
The Fish and Boat Commission, like most state fishing agencies, relies almost exclusively on fishing-license fees and federal tax money to operate and receives no money from the general fund. It stocks trout, cares for public waters and keeps up hatcheries, dams and other infrastructure.
Fishing and boating bring in $1.2 billion to the Pennsylvania economy each year, Arway said. More than a million Pennsylvanians fish.
The $21 cost of an annual resident fishing license hasn’t gone up since 2005. Meanwhile, the commission has made cuts including the loss of 66 jobs. Arway has sought the power for the commission to set its own fees.