Sunday, January 4, 2009

NYSCC direction on DEC budget cuts

FYI: just cause I post it "does not" mean I agree with everything that is written.
update Jan 7~ I've posted a reply to the NYSCC letter below.
Gary Hungerford makes some realistic points. I've also added a link to Magnuson Act; however I can not locate the Supreme court comments.

Hello all concerned sportsmen.

As everyone has heard, we are facing some major cuts in the programs and staff that DEC provides for us through the Conservation Fund. Much of the funding for the Conservation Fund comes from the fees we spend on hunting, fishing and trapping licenses, and the federal dollars that are returned from federal taxes on equipment we buy, with some money also coming from the General Fund. This year there is less money coming in from the General Fund, which is adding to the deficit in the Conservation Fund.
In previous years there was talk of license fee increases, which the NYSCC opposed because of lack of support in the Legislature to lower the age to hunt big game. In 2008 this legislation passed, and now 14 and 15 years old can hunt big game.

I anticipated a proposal by DEC for license fee increases, which did not occur. Instead, the Governor's office and Budget and Finance decided to do away with the pheasant program, even though it brought in millions of dollars. Hopefully we can get money set up in a dedicated account to protect the pheasant program in future years. I have meetings set up with the hopes of saving the pheasant program for this year.

In the Governor's budget bills, there is also language to create a $10 trout and salmon stamp that would be required of everyone who will fish waters that are listed as trout waters. This would not be so bad - IF the money went into a special account for raising and stocking trout and salmon; at least we would have a means of protecting the fish hatcheries.

The $19 marine recreational fishing license will put New York State in compliance with federal regulations requiring a registry of all marine recreational anglers; but in the Governor's budget bill, nothing would go back to the marine district. Also, anyone fishing the Hudson River up to the Troy dam would need that marine license. Adding that to the cost of a freshwater license totals $38.

Capital projects money from the EPF for repairs to the fish hatcheries has been cut from $5 million to $1.5 million, and probably will be cut more.

At the January 3rd Board of Directors' meeting of the NYSCC, the Directors agreed that these issues could not wait until the NYSCC's Legislative Meeting in March. The Board voted as follows:

1- To support a reasonable increase in license fees;

2- To support the Trout and Salmon stamp, with monies dedicated to the maintenance and staffing of fish hatcheries and the stocking of fish; and to change the wording to "State stamp required when angling for and in possession of trout or salmon";

3- To support the creation of a pheasant stamp, with the money dedicated to raising and/ or purchasing pheasants and the stocking of pheasants on lands open to hunting by sportsmen;

4- To support the marine fishing license, with a couple of changes: $6 to go into the Conservation Fund to cover costs incurred, with the remainder going into the marine account. Also, a combination license at $29 should be offered;

5- To support the bottle bill: add a 5-cent deposit on non-carbonated beverage containers, with all unclaimed container return money going to the EPF;

I hope everyone can support these measures, so that we can keep our programs intact.
Please send me your comments.

Yours in Conservation,

Harold L. Palmer
New York State Conservation Council, Inc.
From: 1/6/2009 11:37:11

A.M. Eastern Standard TimeSubj: NYSCC position on fee/license increases

I've just finished reading your column, in the January edition of the Grass Roots News.I find I must take significant exception, to many of the things you support and, thru you, NYSCC supports.

Please let me clarify one item, since you don't seem to beaware of it. It was not Patterson, who decided to shut down theReynold's Game Farm.

The decision came from Judith Enck, the anti-conservationist, pro-tree-hugger, who has wanted to be rid of it andall similar programs, for as long as she has been aware of them.You ask what you can OFFER the governor, to save the pheasantprogram. You can't offer him anything! He agrees with Enck. Bothunderstand that the cost of the program is returned, many times over,thru license fees and taxes. They don't care. It's their excuse toeliminate another element of hunting, in NYS.You support the $10 salmon/trout stamp.

How can you? If youaccept this, what's coming next? Separate stamps, for each of crappie, walleye, pike, pickerel, pumpkinseed, smallmouth bass,largemouth bass, etc.?
It will never end, until they have made thesport financially impossible, for all except those with private lakes or the money to pay $500~$1,000, annually, to fish in freshwater.If they get away with that one, there will be deer stamps,antler stamps, bear stamps, moose stamps, turkey stamps, etc.

You support the saltwater fishing license, accepting theargument that, if NYS doesn't do it, the feds will do it. You know that argument doesn't hold water. You and I have been thru the details of the Magnuson Act and the Supreme Court ruling about how,when and why the feds can create databases, as well as the fact that the feds must provide funding for it, if they want it and if they can, constitutionally, justify it, which they can't.

NYS is just using what they know to be an illegally required database as their excuse, to steal more tax money, while reducing thenumber of anglers. Once implemented, regardless of the allegedreason, it will never be withdrawn and the cost will only go up, sothey can spend more of our dollars against us, never for us, followedby striped bass stamps, bluefish stamps, porgy stamps, etc.

Nothing will come of the saltwater license, except another source for corrupted spending, by NYS' politicians. Yes, I expect they will ram it down our throats, this year, because they control both legislative houses and the governor's office.
There's no one to stop them. That doesn't mean we should tell them we agree or help them!


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