MADISON, Wis. -

A Republican lawmaker on the Legislature's budget committee is questioning a $425 increase in annual air permit fees in Gov. Scott Walker's budget.

A range of facilities that operate a stationary source of air pollutants currently pay $300 for an annual state permit from the Department of Natural Resources. Walker, a Republican, wants to bump that up to $725.

State Rep. Dan LeMahieu of Cascade demanded DNR officials justify the increase during a hearing before the Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday.

DNR Deputy Secretary Matt Maroney told LeMahieu the increase is designed to cover more of the agency's actual costs of administering permits. The agency's budget director, Joe Polasek, said the increase also would enable the DNR to hire five more employees in the air program.