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LETTER FROM NJSFSC PRESIDENT LARRY LEHMANN TO GOVERNOR CODEY REGARDING THE PILFERING OF THE DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE FUNDS

Dear Governor Codey

Our organization has recently become aware of unsettling facts concerning the misuse of
Hunter and Angler monies. These dedicated license fees are paid by sportsmen
and women who hunt and fish in New Jersey. As you know, this account was established to
provide funding for the Division of Fish and Wildlife and must be used for the
conservation and management of freshwater fisheries and wildlife in our state.

In addition, Federal Funds derived from excises taxes on hunting and fishing equipment,
which are also dedicated funds, are received by New Jersey contingent on the dedicated
use of the hunter and angler license funds.

It is our understanding that this money was and is diverted in the following ways by the
State Treasurer's office and the Department of Environmental Protection

No payment for equipment and vehicles traded in when new purchases were made.

Improper accounting of license and permit sales by the Treasurer's office.

Payments for law enforcement activities in marine fisheries (not to be funded with freshwater fishing license money) for two years to the tune of nearly one million dollars.

Outlandish charges for office rent when the other agencies in DEP do not pay rent. (Nearly $350,000 in 2004).

Assessments for overhead costs such as lawyer fees, postage, phones and computers are not based on the real use by the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
We find these and other assessments intolerable since the Treasurer's Office receives over 1 million dollars for overhead costs from federal funding
received for fish and wildlife conservation work conducted by the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

No funding is now received from the General Fund for capitol projects or the management of the nearly 300,000 acres of Wildlife Management Areas
and public use facilities while the Division of Parks and Forests gets 31 million dollars each year for State Parks.

Division of Fish and Wildlife personnel work on DEP-mandated projects which should be funded with general funds. Its personnel spend considerable
time reviewing permit applications for environmentally sensitive projects, enforcement actions, mapping and data collection, but funding for their work is available but not forthcoming from DEP.

Wildlife that causes damage or becomes a nuisance is the result of human
sprawl into wildlife habitat or the result of animal populations that sportsmen and women cannot utilize because their access to use this resource is limited or overregulated. It is not reasonable that sportsmen and women should pay for managing animals that we are not permitted to use due
to posting of land, state regulations or sprawl. There is over a million dollars a year spent from our license money to control such wildlife by the Division of Fish and Wildlife each year. These public services must be funded by the general fund.

These are a few examples of how our license money is used improperly. When we hear of reductions in services that may be coming due to lack of money, we want these problems resolved before there are be cuts in fish and wildlife programs and staff. An audit of Division Funds must be conducted now.

Governor, we need you to fix these problems by returning funding taken illegally from the Hunter and Angler Fund and provide general funding for the Division of Fish and Wildlife's services to the general public that now cost the hunters and anglers of the state millions of dollars each year.

The attached information demonstrates the economic impact of the public's use of the fish and wildlife resource and the programs of management and protection provided by the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Over 4 billion dollars are generated for
the New Jersey economy and 147 million dollars in sales and income taxes go into the state treasury as a result. Some of this money should come back to pay for the management of this wild resource.

The people who pay for and enjoy these resources want this problem fixed. We are willing to work with you and the legislature to get these funding problems corrected but, without your help, we may be forced considers legal action to correct diversions from the Hunter and Angler Fund.

Yours truly,
Lawrence J. Lehmann
President
cc: Commissioner Bradley Campbell
Director M. McHugh

http://www.njsfsc.org/
 
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I agree, about time someone step up to the plate, and call, email, mail your legislators
 

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Wildlife that causes damage or becomes a nuisance is the result of human sprawl into wildlife habitat or the result of animal populations that sportsmen and women cannot utilize because their access to use this resource is limited or overregulated. It is not reasonable that sportsmen and women should pay for managing animals that we are not permitted to use due to posting of land, state regulations or sprawl. There is over a million dollars a year spent from our license money to control such wildlife by the Division of Fish and Wildlife each year. These public services must be funded by the general fund.
That to me is a scary precident. As soon as any part of DF&W, or activity, is funded by the General Fund, you will have Anti's screaming that they "PAY FOR WILDLIFE TOO".

I agree that these types of operations and duties should not be funded with our money, it's just the alternative scares me.
 
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