Friday, February 13, 2009

Update License Fee increase

Here is the CFAB Proposal
CFAB Proposal

Fall Sportsmen's Association meeting with the Commissioner
Fall Sportsmen's Association meeting with the Commissioner

Meeting of Feb. 11, 2008
Sportsmen's Briefing comm. Grannis 3.6m file

Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 11:15 AM
To: NYSCCpresident
Subject: Update License Fee increase

Hello All

DEC has provided a breakdown of the expenses of the Conservation Fund. The report uses program names that would be confusing, so I have asked that it be changed so that the average person can read the report. When the report is worded differently, DEC will put it on their website and I will notify everyone about how to view it. Hopefully this will be done before the license fee increase proposal becomes an Assembly bill, so that you can see it before I ask you to support the fee increase.

Attached is the license fee increase that was prepared and approved by CFAB.

The CFAB figures reflect the need to cover the whole deficit and make the fund solvent for at least three years. These figures are without trout or pheasant stamps or any revenue from the Recreational Marine Fishing License (RMFL). At this time the Governor's bill has not changed; without a change that would place all of the funds from a Recreational Marine Fishing License into a separate marine account, it does not look like the RMFL will get support from those legislators from Long Island and New York City.

However, if the amendments to the Recreational Marine Fishing License bill do not include money for the Conservation Fund to cover the costs of implementing the license, I will have a problem with that, as the money we spend on hunting, fishing and trapping licenses should not be spent to implement the marine license. We should not support this without any reimbursement to the Conservation Fund, for expenses.

The proposed changes by those from Long Island and New York City have put a stop to the possibility of a combo license, which would have avoided the cost of two separate licenses for those individuals who fish both types of waters. The Recreational Marine Fishing License will be needed to fish the Hudson and Delaware Rivers and their tributaries for striped bass, shad and herring up to the first dams that prevent the fish from going futher upstream.

With the license fee increase proposal in place, I have asked Commissioner Grannis to make sure that the Trout and Salmon stamp in the Governor's bill be pulled. Commissioner Grannis said it would be.

Additionally, with the license fee increase proposal in place, we have withdrawn our proposal for a pheasant stamp.

To clear up some issues that I have received comments about:

~ the highest-ranking DEC people that are paid from the Conservation Fund are the Department heads, for instance, John Major. No one from the Governor's office is paid from the Conservation Fund.

~ The Conservation Fund went through a Federal Audit in 2006.

~ When figuring increases, only those licenses for legal hunting implements, seasons, etc. could be figured in.

~ I received a lot of comments about stamps. Maybe we should change the laws so that the stamps we already have would be considered licenses or permits. The stamps we already have are bowhunting, muzzleloader, duck, habitat/access.

~ I do have to agree that if they implement a trout stamp, next it would be walleye, then musky, bass, pan fish or anything else to raise money; and there was no guarantee that enough money would have been generated to run the fish hatcheries, or even the pheasant program.

~ The reason the NYSCC took a position in early January to support the stamps was to show the Governor that we were serious about saving the pheasant program, when I had been told by the Governor's staff person that they would not talk about a license fee increase. Later, after the Governor stated that sportsmen would work with DEC to come up with funding to make the Conservation Fund solvent to keep the pheasant program going in the future, I felt that stamps would not bring in the needed money and the only way to assure enough revenue was to work on a license fee increase, which Commissioner Grannis agreed to have his staff work on, with CFAB and the sportsmen.

Thank you.
Harold L. Palmer
New York State Conservation Council, Inc.

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