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Fishing Could Get More Expensive in Iowa, So Could Staying at Some State Properties

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Money is tight in state government, so if you want to fish or lodge at some state properties, you could be on the hook for increased costs.

"State park uses have changed," Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp told Governor Kim Reynolds and her top staff at budget hearings on Monday.

Gipp wants to help lawmakers find additional money to improve parks, dams, trails, and state properties. He proposed raising the cost of a fishing license from $19 to $25. He also wants the flexibility to charge higher prices at peak times at state properties, similar to what hotels and motels do.

"We're not trying to price ourselves out. We want to have heads in beds," Gipp said during his budget pitch, "but we also have to have the flexibility to make sure we're getting the dollars necessary to in order to do that. And it just makes sense."

Gipp requested a yearly increase from state funds from the current $97 million to $104 next year. That would still be far less than the $22 million the DNR received in 2009.

Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend requested the same level of funding as the current year and said she hopes to find federal grants to bring in additional money. Five department leaders made budget presentations Monday. Eight more are scheduled to offer theirs on Wednesday.

Iowa lawmakers will have a better idea of projected state revenues for the coming year when the Revenue Estimating Conference gathers in Des Moines on December 11th. Lawmakers--who reconvene in January for the next legislative session--use that projection to determine spending levels for the upcoming budget.