Gobi amendment would reimburse lost funds to MassWildlife

  • GOBI

Staff Report
Published: 5/30/2021 9:19:13 PM
Modified: 5/30/2021 9:19:12 PM

BOSTON — Sen. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and past Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture, successfully advocated Wednesday for the inclusion of an amendment to the FY22 state budget aimed at addressing lost revenue that the state is failing to reimburse to the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife. The bipartisan amendment targets the nearly $1 million/year the agency forfeits each year by providing free hunting and fishing licenses to residents aged over 70 that is not currently being reimbursed by the state and would ensure that these funds are appropriated annually from the General Fund.

In a press release, Gobi had this to say on the amendment’s passage: “Our sportsmen and women play a critical role in conservation and the fees from licenses have made sure land is set aside, not just for hunting and fishing but for many types of recreation such as hiking and bird watching. Offering free license to those over a certain age is the right thing to do, especially now when we want people to enjoy the outdoors. Reimbursing that lost revenue is also the right thing to do.”

Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife (MassWildlife) provides free fishing and hunting licenses to residents over 70 years of age, but is not reimbursed for this loss in revenue. As a result, the agency is losing approximately $1 million per year, and that loss is expected to increase as the 70-plus population continues to grow. At the same time, MassWildlife is reimbursed each year by the state to offset losses associated with discounted fishing and hunting licenses offered to people ages 65 to 69. This amendment would fix this inconsistency while simultaneously raising desperately-needed dedicated funds for this important agency, tasked with overseeing sportsmen and women’s activities while conserving and restoring critical habitat.

For more information on the amendment or budget process, contact Sen. Gobi’s office by email at Anne.Gobi@MASenate.gov.

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