The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says it’s facing a severe budget shortage. As Rachel Otwell reports, legislators are advancing a series of fees to help the faltering agency, including one that will have you paying a bit more to register your car:
Lawmakers are still drafting the state’s next budget. But IDNR Director Marc Miller says proposals give the agency about twenty million dollars less than it needs.
MARC MILLER: ”Many people are out there recreating enjoying the outdoors because of the work that we do … It’s very difficult to continue to do that when we know that there is funding that is drying up. We need to take action in order to preserve the agency and its mission.”
Miller supports a measure approved by a House committee projected to generate $32 million dollars a year for the Department of Natural Resources.
It would mean Illinois residents will have to pay an extra two dollars for vehicle registration. Out of state visitors to state parks would have to pay a fee. And DNR would charge fees for access to bike and horse trails, and public beaches. It appears legislators are advancing this package of fee hikes, instead of moving forward with a different proposal that would for the first time in Illinois charge admission to anyone entering a state park.