CP&W’s Financial Problems Force Lawmakers To Take Action
Lawmakers attempt to fix CP&W's financial woes.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been facing a financial crisis for years. Colorado lawmakers recently introduced a bill titled "The 2018 Hunting, Fishing, and Parks for Future Generations Act" in an effort to resolve their long-term funding issues.
As a fisherman and lover of the outdoors, it's frustrating to hear the news that Colorado Parks and Wildlife is struggling. This great state has some of the countries best hunting and fishing. Those outdoor opportunities are a reason this region is so appealing and more people keep moving here. Back in 2015, Colorado was the second-fastest growing state in the nation. In 2016 Colorado was the seventh-fastest, that year adding over 90K new residents. Those numbers have Colorado Parks and Wildlife struggling to keep up with demand.
Contributing to the problem is that fact that CP&W haven't raised their resident hunting and fishing license fees since 2005. The sale of hunting and fishing licenses, state park passes, and camping fees are the CP&W's main revenue source. $40 million has been cut from their budget and 50 full-time employees have been laid off. Colorado lawmakers are now taking action with the introduction of the new bill. Part of the bill would increase multi-day and annual resident hunting and fishing licenses by $8.00. The bill would also give the go-ahead to CP&W to raise state park entrance fees.
Less than 1% of CP&W's annual budget comes from tax revenue. Why isn't that percentage higher? Why can't some of the cannabis tax revenue go to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife? I get that hunters, fisherman, and campers are the primary users but isn't there another way to add revenue instead of just increasing fees?