Purchased no ODFW "privileges" again this year

S
slabjig
For the 8th year (ever since ODFW reneged on the Free Lifetime Pioneer License in 2015), I have purchased no "privileges" from ODFW in 2022, only the Pioneer license itself. This is a promise I made at the 2015 legislative session when ODFW presented this "New Fee", and unlike ODFW and the State of Oregon, I keep my promises. Lest anyone think I'm shortchanging the outdoors that I love, instead of "privileges", I donate $50 each to the following non-profits:
Ducks Unlimited
Northwest Steelheaders
CCA
Nature Conservancy
NautilusLive

These are organizations where I can feel comfortable that my money is actually being spent on projects which increase our knowledge or improve our world. Failure to keep a promise comes at a price.
 
rogerdodger
rogerdodger
while I respect your decision and donations to other organizations, I will point out that the change made in late 2015, creating a $6 annual charge for the combined pioneer license, was done because it allowed the state to collect $20 per year in federal matching funds per license. "Free" licenses being provided under the previous program didn't count towards the matching federal money, so it was being lost to other states.

"Pioneer license holders (age 65 and older, 50-year resident of Oregon) will now pay $6 for a combination license, which was previously free. The change allows ODFW to recoup an average of $20 per paid license holder in federal grants. These federal grants are generated from an excise tax on hunting and fishing equipment and are provided to states based on the number of paid license holders. These grants are important because they help fund fish and wildlife management projects that provide fishing and hunting opportunities."

https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2015/december/120215.asp
 
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D
Davpot
rogerdodger said:
while I respect your decision and donations to other organizations, I will point out that the change made in late 2015, creating a $6 annual charge for the combined pioneer license, was done because it allowed the state to collect $20 per year in federal matching funds per license. "Free" licenses being provided under the previous program didn't count towards the matching federal money, so it was being lost to other states.

"Pioneer license holders (age 65 and older, 50-year resident of Oregon) will now pay $6 for a combination license, which was previously free. The change allows ODFW to recoup an average of $20 per paid license holder in federal grants. These federal grants are generated from an excise tax on hunting and fishing equipment and are provided to states based on the number of paid license holders. These grants are important because they help fund fish and wildlife management projects that provide fishing and hunting opportunities."

https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2015/december/120215.asp
I guess I missed out on the Free Pioneer liscense, but 6$ is still quite a bargain in my view. In todays world 6$ will buy you……?
 
S
slabjig
rogerdodger said:
while I respect your decision and donations to other organizations, I will point out that the change made in late 2015, creating a $6 annual charge for the combined pioneer license, was done because it allowed the state to collect $20 per year in federal matching funds per license. "Free" licenses being provided under the previous program didn't count towards the matching federal money, so it was being lost to other states.

"Pioneer license holders (age 65 and older, 50-year resident of Oregon) will now pay $6 for a combination license, which was previously free. The change allows ODFW to recoup an average of $20 per paid license holder in federal grants. These federal grants are generated from an excise tax on hunting and fishing equipment and are provided to states based on the number of paid license holders. These grants are important because they help fund fish and wildlife management projects that provide fishing and hunting opportunities."

https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2015/december/120215.aspS
So here's the thing about that, and it's a point that ODFW carefully glossed over when making their pitch to the legislature for this fee. If a pioneer licensee with the free license purchased a hunting "privilege", that act substantiated that they had a hunting license and were thus eligible for pitman robertson funds. If they purchased a fishing "privilege" (ie a combined harvest tag) that was evidence of a fishng license and they were eligile for dingall johnson funds. To get the funds from the federal government, what was required was proof of a hunting or fishing license, not a particular dollar amount although the minimum that the licensee had to spend was $6 to qualify for both. So pioneer licensees who purchased an upland game "privilege", a deer tag, a waterfowl stamp or any other hunting "privilege" qualified that licensee for matching federal funds. Approximately 30% of all pioneer licensees did purchase additional "privileges" and so the state was already getting the federal funds. It was the other 70% that didn't purchase additional "privileges" that the state wanted to collect the federal funds for. A lot of those folks (according to Director Melcher) just got the license because it was free (apparently his mother was one of those). How many of those didn't purchase anything once the fee was attached, I have no idea. Prior to 2007, the pioneer license was a one and done license, you paid the fee and were issued a card (my dad carried one for years) which never needed to be renewed. In 2007, the department started requiring annual renewal of the license (see the handwriting on the wall), and then in 2015, instituted the annual fee. ODFW likes to publicize the jump in license sales, I haven't actually investigated how much of that jump was because pioneer licenses now counted as "sales", but it had to be a not insignificant amount. If overall license sales increases are looked at as a proportion of the increase in state population, then sales up to 2015, the last time I looked at these figures, were going down proportionately. ODFW doesn't do particularly well at marketing it's "product" which is why they are constantly looking at other sources of revenue (can you say Columbia river endorsement or "parking fee") and the legislature formed a committee to investigate further sources of revenue. Things like a surcharge on the bottle bill, increased hospitality fees, tax of marijuana, and other rather hair brained schemes, but they finally gave a recommendation to the legislature to just increase the state income tax. No idea where it went from there. It's important to remember that ODFW is a department of state government, not an outdoor nonprofit. Like other government employees, department personnel qualify for PERS benefits, and in 2015 when the pioneer license fee was being instilled, wages and benefits were greater than 50% of department expenditures (57% is the number that comes to mind). So these increased revenues were going to be used to offset ever increasing issues with state employee entitlements. Between 1984 and 2015 the number of FTE employees for the department increased from 750 to 1500, so these entitlements were growing substantially. The department could have easily just rebated the first $3 of a hunting "privilege" and the first $3 of a fishing "privilege" which would have made the pioneer license still essentially free while satisfying the federal requirements, and at the same time encentivizing people to actually buy privileges, but apparently the $6 was a temptation they couldn't resist.
 
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Davpot
slabjig said:
So here's the thing about that, and it's a point that ODFW carefully glossed over when making their pitch to the legislature for this fee. If a pioneer licensee with the free license purchased a hunting "privilege", that act substantiated that they had a hunting license and were thus eligible for pitman robertson funds. If they purchased a fishing "privilege" (ie a combined harvest tag) that was evidence of a fishng license and they were eligile for dingall johnson funds. To get the funds from the federal government, what was required was proof of a hunting or fishing license, not a particular dollar amount although the minimum that the licensee had to spend was $6 to qualify for both. So pioneer licensees who purchased an upland game "privilege", a deer tag, a waterfowl stamp or any other hunting "privilege" qualified that licensee for matching federal funds. Approximately 30% of all pioneer licensees did purchase additional "privileges" and so the state was already getting the federal funds. It was the other 70% that didn't purchase additional "privileges" that the state wanted to collect the federal funds for. A lot of those folks (according to Director Melcher) just got the license because it was free (apparently his mother was one of those). How many of those didn't purchase anything once the fee was attached, I have no idea. Prior to 2007, the pioneer license was a one and done license, you paid the fee and were issued a card (my dad carried one for years) which never needed to be renewed. In 2007, the department started requiring annual renewal of the license (see the handwriting on the wall), and then in 2015, instituted the annual fee. ODFW likes to publicize the jump in license sales, I haven't actually investigated how much of that jump was because pioneer licenses now counted as "sales", but it had to be a not insignificant amount. If overall license sales increases are looked at as a proportion of the increase in state population, then sales up to 2015, the last time I looked at these figures, were going down proportionately. ODFW doesn't do particularly well at marketing it's "product" which is why they are constantly looking at other sources of revenue (can you say Columbia river endorsement or "parking fee") and the legislature formed a committee to investigate further sources of revenue. Things like a surcharge on the bottle bill, increased hospitality fees, tax of marijuana, and other rather hair brained schemes, but they finally gave a recommendation to the legislature to just increase the state income tax. No idea where it went from there. It's important to remember that ODFW is a department of state government, not an outdoor nonprofit. Like other government employees, department personnel qualify for PERS benefits, and in 2015 when the pioneer license fee was being instilled, wages and benefits were greater than 50% of department expenditures (57% is the number that comes to mind). So these increased revenues were going to be used to offset ever increasing issues with state employee entitlements. Between 1984 and 2015 the number of FTE employees for the department increased from 750 to 1500, so these entitlements were growing substantially. The department could have easily just rebated the first $3 of a hunting "privilege" and the first $3 of a fishing "privilege" which would have made the pioneer license still essentially free while satisfying the federal requirements, and at the same time encentivizing people to actually buy privileges, but apparently the $6 was a temptation they couldn't resist.
Hello Slabjig: Thank you for that clear and interesting explanation of how we arrived at our present ODFW fee structures. I think we all see where things are headed. All we can do is rail against the storm and do our part to not destroy Our Environment. Again, Many Thanks for sharing!
 
O
OneMomentOneDay
As slabjig noted
“ It's important to remember that ODFW is a department of state government, not an outdoor nonprofit. Like other government employees, department personnel qualify for PERS benefits, and in 2015 when the pioneer license fee was being instilled, wages and benefits were greater than 50% of department expenditures (57% is the number that comes to mind). So these increased revenues were going to be used to offset ever increasing issues with state employee entitlements. Between 1984 and 2015 the number of FTE employees for the department increased from 750 to 1500, so these entitlements were growing substantially”.

This is always the underlying issue. I am actually against the attitude of always seeking federal funds. Those federal funds have come from the federal reserve printing paper for decades to enslave us with this crazy inflation that we have.

Let’s take care of our state resources ourselves. Less government agents retiring a decade earlier than the rest of us and more support for volunteer organizations. Imagine what those extra wages and Pers benefits would have accomplished through the private sector being utilized with the equal guidance of fish biologists with common sense
 

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