Reader Rick Birge chimed in on Sunday’s column about Oklahoma’s convoluted licensing system.
The state Wildlife Department sells at least 100 hunting and fishing licenses but is looking to reduce that number at the request of state lawmakers.
“Having lived in 6 states over my 35 year airline career, this state takes the title for most monkeyed up that exists,” Birge said in an e-mail.
“Commissioners should look at Arkansas and Missouri for best approach. (A) 1/8-cent general sales tax fixes all. Amazing how improved their states are with all respect to fish/wildlife services after taxes passed.
“Took (Former Gov. Mike) Huckabee in Arkansas a couple attempts but (he) was finally successful.”
Missouri is considered the gold standard when it comes to funding for fish, wildlife and state parks.
Unlike Oklahoma and the majority of states, Missouri has a portion of sales tax revenue dedicated to state parks and its Department of Conservation.
Because of the constant revenue stream, Missouri’s Department of Conservation and parks system are perhaps the best funded and most envied in the nation.
Arkansas also receives sales taxes earmarked for wildlife and Texas receives general appropiations.
But Oklahoma’s Department of Wildlife Conservation gets no state appropiations. Past bills have been introduced in the state Legislature to appropiate tax revenue for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation but it’s never had the political support.
As a result, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is funded almost entirely by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. That’s the primary reason there are so many licenses.
And in this economic climate, that is not going to change in the near future.