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Budget may cost outdoors enthusiasts

March 07, 2008 at 07:34 AM

Larry Dale loves deer and turkey hunting, even though it means paying fee after fee. On top of his state taxes, he pays for licenses, permits and the use of public wildlife areas.

Dale isn’t looking forward to doling out even more under Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s proposed budget. Dale said it’s unfair for hunters and fisherman to shell out more for state conservation efforts they already subsidize.

“I find it disconcerting that we are again targeted,” said the 59-year-old Petersburg resident.

Blagojevich wants to increase money in various Department of Natural Resources special funds by $37 million, or 28 percent, a move that would require raising fees.

What remains unclear is how much more consumers would have to pay.

The department is trying to become more “self-sufficient” so it depends less on tax revenue, spokesman Chris McCloud said, but it has not spelled out what that means for people who want to hunt or hike or camp on state property.

Environmentalists and legislators haven’t been able to get answers either.

“No one has been able to articulate what fees they’re talking about, specifically what fees would be or how much they would raise,” said Jonathan Goldman, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “There are a lot of unanswered questions at this point.”

A chorus of negative responses met Blagojevich’s budget proposal last week. His lack of detail was one sore point.

Descriptions of his changes at DNR mentioned only two possible fee increases: Floodway permits and reviews related to endangered species.

Electrical fees for campers might go up, too, to help pay for improvements to electrical systems, said McCloud, who added it’s too early to say what other fees might rise. “Much of that will depend on legislative action,” he said.

While fees would go up under Blagojevich’s plans, the agency’s share of general tax money would drop by $27 million, or nearly 40 percent.

Up to $15 million of that reduction can be attributed to shifting some of the agency’s scientific research departments to the University of Illinois, Goldman said.

“There is still another $10 million or $12 million that they are cutting in (general funds) that we don’t know why or what that would have funded,” Goldman said.

He noted Blagojevich’s plan includes cuts to open-space acquisition and preservation of natural areas.

A major union says the proposal is more of the same from an administration that neglects the DNR.

DNR employees have dwindled to the point where state forests, parks and nature preserves are rarely adequately staffed, said the Illinois chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

There has been a 29 percent staff decrease since 2001, the union said.

“The track record of this administration is one of neglect if not antipathy to essential public services,” said federation spokesman Anders Lindall. “When you are talking about cuts of that magnitude, you’re talking about serious harm to every aspect of this agency.”

Rep. Kurt Granberg, D-Carlyle, cautioned the plan is still in its infancy.

“This is just the first announcement so we have a long way to go on the process. Everything is subject to change and nothing is written in stone at this point,” said Granberg, who has been mentioned as a candidate for director of the agency, which is now run by an acting director.

Other officials said Blagojevich has put the agency on the bottom rung in the last half decade.

“You want to have people at state parks available to help people who come long distances to see eagles fly over the Illinois River,” said Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. “I really feel that Gov. Blagojevich has not been friendly to conservation over the last five years and it’s been a disappointment.”

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Where to even begin. IMPEACH him. Remove him stick him in a cell with George Ryan. You down state southern IL imbeciles who are in AFSCME voted for him because of your idiot elect Buddy Maupin and other cagoling democrats like Phelps givng you your barking orders. Well you got want you wanted and he has balanced the budget while raising fees and driving business out of IL, and shredding the state workers. Meanwhile we have Patty Blago’s wildlife flower beautification program costing several hundred thousand dollars, governor’s 6000 dollar plane rides, and renaming the tollways open road toll system governor A blagoevich at a tune of over 800,000 DOLLARS. Yet when I call Springfield to find out where my license renewal form is I am on hold for 37 minutes and 45 seconds or better yet get a busy signal 15 times. Please keep voting democrat because you father did or better yet because you think that will ensure the safety of your union job.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/07 at 12:13 PM

Greg are you upset.?Some of us down stater’s don’t like it any better than you do.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/07 at 02:54 PM

Greg is right. People need to stop voting democrat just because their mamma and pappa did.  It is easy to think you are a democrat, but it actually takes some intelligent thought to realize you are more conservative and/or republican than you thought.  ANY politician out of Chicago can’t be trusted….its that simple….blagovich, obama, whoever else there is. VOTE republican and protect you’re rights.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/08 at 09:55 AM

Yes I am upset. I used to live in Southern IL n(real Southern IL near Carbondale, not Springfield or Kankakee) , a transplant from PA. I was perplexed how everyones’ values down in that region were conservative yet they all voted liberal except for a few republican strongholds here and there. I always asked why they voted democrat and always got the same “tripe” for an answer. My daddy is a democrat, only democrats are for the workin’ man (do you know who passed CAFTA and NAFTA?), my union boss told me so, blah, blah, blah. Well, if this country wants a change, here is a grand idea. And that doesn’t mean vote for Obama, because its cool or hip or because George Clooney, or your mama said so. Fully examine the issues, what is most important to you, and who best represents where you stand. But to vote because your grand pappy did, or because Buddy Maupin told you to is ridiculous. Why anyone who lives outside of Chicago who is not a tree hugging liberal would vote for a Chicago liberal democrat is unfathomable to me. So if YOU ARE UPSET? GOOD!@ The next time you go to the ballot box remember that and tell your union boss to go take a leap when he wants you to vote for another democrat, or if you can’t tell him, just vote republican. You working men are going to be in trouble once we have a flood of newly out of the shadow citizens who will work for less than union wages. And it will happen, if Obama or Clinton gets the White House. We wont have to worry about a DNR when we are a third world country, and when you will have to work until August just to pay your taxes to support the freeloaders and corrupt politicians who seem to be outweighing the producers in this country.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/08 at 10:32 AM

That is some nice contry down there .I do a lot of swamp rabbit hunting with beagles at Cache River at Vienna and Belknap Been going down there around 30 years .It alway’s suprise’s me to see how many will vote for a Windy City canidate.I never understood it .That area would be great place to live [if there were any job’s other than the prision’s ]and be a republican.I can’t see why the folk’s down there can’t see that the northern elected official’s are not helping them out any .

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/08 at 11:49 AM

It only takes about 2seconds of reading to see why this country is in the shape its in.I haven’t seen any where in the united states that has helped the american people sence the republcan party has had control of the government. the democrats cannot do anything until they get both houses so they can over ride the veto pen.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/08 at 09:43 PM

The country will be hurting for years until we quit getting the crooked politicians to quit running.  Everyone of them, democrats and republicans, are horrible and there is a no win situation when it comes to the next vote.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/09 at 01:13 AM

I heard that ,Fulton…I’m afraid it will get no better who ever’s elected…to much greed involed.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/09 at 08:17 AM

The problem is that Ol’ Rod is just a moron.  The Gov. just keeps cutting in to the DNR’s budget, therefore the compensation comes from our pockets.  Doesn’t quite make sense to me, especially when hunters and fishermen pretty much already fund state parks and other areas.  The closest to the “outdoors” Rod has ever been is when he was flying over Braidwood and asked the guy next time what kind of birds were making the lake black, just kidding.  I hunt at Giant City State Park in Maknanda, and it is awesome there.  The problem is that they are so understaffed it’s ridiculous, and that is the story already throughout the state.  There is always garbage and crap all over.  Rod cares about one thing, Chiccago.  I think that Chicago should give us the Cubs n Bears, and go ahead, take Rod w/them, and annex themselves from the rest of the state.  If you want to visit, the roads can be 100% tollway, camo is not allowed cuz then you are a white-trash redneck, and Rod continues to just reach in to our pockets.  If they said that money was going to get Blago out of office I would pay it, but not because this Chicago moron only cares about his home area.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/09 at 01:41 PM

Well lets face it Rod is horrible let alone all politicians are.  I am not sticking up for him,but look at what he took over in this state that Ryan left him.  Anyone would look bad just like the next president whoever that may be.  They all talk a good game to get in then do whatever they want from there on out.  Hopefully this country wakes up and realizes that we need to battle are own war here on are own soil!  With all the corruption and illegal immigration we are going to be govern by foreign money in the future.  They are already accepting foreign currencey in New Jersey cause it is valued more than the U.S. dollar.  Anyway I can go on and on but back to Illinois until the dnr is self governed we are screwed.  Who would’nt want some of that free money that all of us loyal hunters keep giving them to participate in a sport we love!  Until we unite somehow they will continue to rape are great love for the outdoors.  So next time u take to your hobby whatever it may be take time to think about what the future may hold cause it may just not be there!!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/09 at 05:08 PM

I was at a meeting where state employees said that the reason they felt Rod hated IDNR so much had to do with the fact that hunters opposed him in his first run for governor based on his anti-gun views.  Now it may be pay back

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/10 at 11:12 AM

Lets face it guys, our Governor doesn’t even qualify for idiot status, he has far surpassed that and what I would like to call him I am no longer able to do on this site. We can all bitch and moan about this blow bag but unless we pool together, all our complaining won’t do squat.  I recently picked up a interesting card at our local archery shop. It is put out by the Committee for Legislative Action.  It is a survey wondering if we should be able to recall elected officials.  I say, “Hell yes”.  1st Question   “If Illinois was to have a recall, would you circulate a petetion to Recall Governor Rod?  We all know the answer to that question.  My 4 year can answer that.  Lets get our voices heard.  It is worth a try.  Go to  I have no affiliation with this group, I am tired of our Governor abusing his power!!!  I along with all of you guys want him gone.  I am sick of seeing him run our DNR into the ground so he can work on his pet projects, ie $40 million to build a new lecture hall at NIU.  What happened there was tragic no question about that.  Lets end this this guys political career now so we don;t have to deal with him in the future.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/10 at 01:26 PM

mike, ole Rod put on a good show for sportsmen in his first election.  I was at a meeting with (then) Senator Brusnvold when Blago was running.  He called all the sportsmen’s groups in the state together to campaign for Blago, and to try to convince us all that he supported hunting and the outdoors.  Amazingly enough, Brunsvold was appointed DNR Director soon after that… we see how well THAT went!!!!!

Posted by KC-IBS on 03/10 at 07:51 PM

Wow?  Does that surprise you KC-IBS.  He is for the DNR like New Yorks Governor is going to clean up corruption. See how far that got him today.  BLAGO had us all fooled.  Just another Democrat with a silver tongue.  He only takes care of his agenda and his boys that support him.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/10 at 09:44 PM

they need to give RICE LAKE some money it is going down hill and they are broke come on now .

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/11 at 11:09 AM

In N. IL Lake Le-Aqua-Na has a site super that was a factory worker at Kelly Springfield tires before he became site super and he is the democrat county chairman.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/11 at 12:15 PM

Its not who you know its who you BLAGO?  That doesn’t surprise me.  Sound like he has a great background for a site super.  Don’t you know, a tire is wildlife in Blago’s world.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/11 at 05:19 PM

ummm, didn’t the Illinois chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees endorse and donate to ol ROD in his first election?  Guess they got what they wanted.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/18 at 09:55 AM

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