|June 13, 2023 12:25 PM
|Representative Anita Astorino Kulik and Rep. David M. Maloney, Sr.
|All House members
|Reauthorization of Authority to Establish Fees – Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
|Act 56 of 2020 provided the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PFBC) Board of Commissioners with the ability to set certain fees for a five-year period. However, prior to Act 56, the PFBC’s fees were established through legislation. As such, in the near future, we plan to introduce legislation that would reauthorize the PFBC’s authority to establish license and permit fees for an additional 10-year period. In addition, this legislation would also provide for minor changes to Section 2715 of Title 30 (Fish) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statues to remove outdated fee amounts.
As one of Pennsylvania’s independent conservation agencies, it is important to note that the PFBC is not supported by the General Fund. Rather, Pennsylvania’s fishing and boating programs are paid for by anglers and boaters, primarily from the sale of fishing licenses, permits, and boat registrations. Consequently, the agency has a vested business interest in setting a fee structure that generates sufficient revenues to sustain its work on behalf of the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources while encouraging user participation.
However, several checks and balances on the process remain present in Title 30 (Fish) that allow the General Assembly to ensure the PFBC is responsibly implementing this authority. This includes a public hearing requirement and a legislative disapproval recommendation process. In addition, the agency is required to submit an annual report to the General Assembly and is subject to a tri-annual Legislative Budget & Finance Committee audit.
It is important to note that the PFBC has been a responsible and transparent steward of this power, using it only when necessary. Since being granted this authority under Act 56, the agency chose to forgo a fee increase in its first year due to increased revenues as a result of greater public interest in outdoor recreational activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the PFBC has only implemented incremental fee increases twice since that time. As such, the PFBC has chosen to only raise fees, when necessary, to cope with inflationary pressures while maintaining, improving, and investing in programs, services, equipment, and facilities to meet the needs of Pennsylvania’s anglers, boaters, and aquatic resources.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation to support the PFBC with the continued ability to adequately serve the Commonwealth’s anglers, boaters, and aquatic resources through its independently funded conservation work.
Introduced as HB1409