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January 27, 2010 - 7:39pm

Hawley asks governor not to touch snowmobile fund

posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, Steve Hawley, state, snowmobiles.

The governor is out of line, according to Assemblyman Steve Hawley, in planning to shift $1 million from New York's snowmobile program to the state's general fund.

Hawley today issued a statement asking Gov. David Paterson to strike that provision from his proposed 2010-2011 executive budget.

“This proposal to take $1 million away from the Snowmobile Fund is unacceptable and serves as just another example of the State trying to take every penny it can to cover its own fiscal mismanagement,” said Hawley. “This fund is entirely financed and supported by the fees New Yorkers pay to register their snowmobiles. For this reason, the fund should be used solely to maintain and develop snowmobile trails throughout the state.”

Full press release after the jump:

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) today called on Governor David Paterson to remove a proposal from his 2010-2011 Executive Budget aimed at removing $1 million from the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund and transferring it into the State’s General Fund.

“This proposal to take $1 million away from the Snowmobile Fund is unacceptable and serves as just another example of the State trying to take every penny it can to cover its own fiscal mismanagement,” said Hawley.“This fund is entirely financed and supported by the fees New Yorkers pay to register their snowmobiles.  For this reason, the fund should be used solely to maintain and develop snowmobile trails throughout the state.”

The 2010-2011 Executive Budget contains a proposal to sweep $1 million from the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund and transfer it into the State’s General Fund. In addition, the proposal would allow the General Fund to have access to 30% of the remaining Snowmobile Fund balance and expand the use of that money to include all recreational activities on State lands. When a similar proposal was raised in 2008, Assemblyman Hawley authored and introduced legislation, Assembly Bill 10732, which would prevent any transfer of funds from accounts that are specifically supported with a dedicated fee, such as the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund. 

According to the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Snowmobile industry contributes more than $875 million to the state economy each year. The removal of $1 million from the snowmobile fund, and the potential access to an additional 30% of that fund, could severely impact the Upstate economy. 

“Many small upstate communities rely heavily on the snowmobiling industry to generate local revenue and would be negatively impacted by this money grab by Albany. If Albany is serious about helping rebuild New York’s ailing economy, then this proposal should be taken out. I will continue to fight against this proposal to seize dedicated funds for some other use just as I did in 2008.”

Mike Weaver
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Sorry Mr. Hawley but I couldn't disagree more. Our state is teetering on financial collapse and we are supposed to get riled up over snowmobile trails not getting maintained? Think austerity budget. We need to concentrate on basic, necessary services. Everything else should be very optional right now.
Karen Miconi
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Snowmobiling is a hobby, and should be kept as such. Its like putting State Funds aside, for rounds of golf, and having the taxpayer pay for it?? Let the ones in the Snowmobile Clubs, do like the rest of the clubs do, "Pay for it themselves" and "Do the Work Themselves". Isnt that half the fun of it? Working together, and enjoying your "Hobby"? Just the words "General Fund" make me suspicious. What exactly is the money really used for, and how do we know where its going?
Howard B. Owens
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You know, the first time Steve brought this issue up I was like -- wait, he's pushing for something for his own interest group. BUT Then I found out -- snowmobilers pay a specific fee to the state for the purpose of maintaining their trails, etc. How is it fair to take a tax that is only raised for one specific purpose and shift it to another purpose. I just don't see how it's right to take a special purpose tax and move the revenue into the general fund.
Karen Miconi
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Howard, what did you think of the State of the Union Address? It all sounded good, but again, wheres all this money coming from? Ugg Im sure it will be discused in the morning. Good night ya'll
Steve Ognibene
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So basically everyone is saying it's fair for snowmobiliers to pay a tax and not use it for that purpose, just to give it up to pay for something else? I disagree with all of you and Steve has a legitimate complaint here. Our governor is looking for ANYTHING to rob peter to pay paul and make himself look good by getting everything caught up before he is out of office. GO STEVE HAWLEY !!
terry paine
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If I'm not mistaken the state added a charge to the registration fee a few years ago to cover trail maintaince. This money previously was donated to the area clubs but the state felt they should get in the middle of it. So the money that was forcibly extracted from these hobbists for a single purpose should be used for whatever you see fit??
william tapp
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its time for STEVE HAWLEY to retire from public office.you talk a good story but as usual no action, just talk . we are tired of talk, we need people who do stuff. and as usual samo samo politicians lie
Stephanie Underhill
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Thank You Mr. Hawley! Registering and joining a snowmobile club every year is not cheap, but it is well worth the cost of our trails being groomed and maintained. For those of you that do not understand where the $1 million dollars is coming from, here is some literature from last year when the government tried to take from the same fund "The $1 million that was “swept” didn’t come from taxpayers --- it came entirely from the registration fees paid by snowmobilers for the expressed sole purpose of maintaining and developing the statewide trail system. Trail maintenance is critical to safety and the top priority for the 237 snowmobile clubs throughout the state who willingly assume responsibility for maintaining the trail system and volunteer over 250,000 hours of labor each year."
Kim Schildwaster
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I don't participate, so take it for the "greater good." Are you kidding me? Would you feel the same if the state were taking it from the those with special needs? They won't know, what does it matter? My family loves the outdoors. We hunt, we camp, we ride our ATV's in the summer and snowmobiles in the winter. The state has increase the fees for each and every registration from ATV's to Hunting. So sit on your couch and watch tv, it won't affect you. We'll just keep raising the fees until those that can currently afford to do this can't anymore. They'll shut down the state parks, you'll have over population, and no one will want to live in NY. Oh thats right, they are already leaving in droves.
andre miller
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As a snowmobiler myself, this makes me sick! we pay those fees for a specific reason to maintain trails, have good markings on the trails, and to have the trails groomed. How is it legal to shift the money that was set aside for this to the "general fund?" Thats like holding a fundraiser for someone with a terminal disease, and then putting that money in your own pocket...enough is enough Paterson!! Why don't you go after welfare? I be you could find MILLIONS of wasted money there! leave us snowmobilers ALONE!
andre miller
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As a snowmobiler myself, this makes me sick! we pay those fees for a specific reason to maintain trails, have good markings on the trails, and to have the trails groomed. How is it legal to shift the money that was set aside for this to the "general fund?" Thats like holding a fundraiser for someone with a terminal disease, and then putting that money in your own pocket...enough is enough Paterson!! Why don't you go after welfare? I be you could find MILLIONS of wasted money there! leave us snowmobilers ALONE!
Stephen Houseknecht
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This the best Hawley can do besides yarping about severing NYC from the rest of the state? A part time assemblyman whose main income derives from an insurance agency that I am sure writes plenty of snowmobile/ atv insurance. Oh yeah, he has also attended "over twenty seven" town hall meetings. St.Ronny Reagan cut taxes for the wealthy and the corporations.Deficits were the only things that "trickled down" with any real impact. Shazaam! People wondered why use taxes and fees starting appearing. The banksters are a whole different deficit problem.
Stephen Houseknecht
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Howard, Your comments about dedicated taxes are naive. The State gasoline tax doesn't go to highway infrastructure, it ends up in the general operating fund and has going back to Nelson Rockefeller. If you want to start looking for someone to blame for the mess NY is in go back to Nelson Rockefeller.
Bryant Tyson
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I find it all kind of funny being ATV's have the same fees as the snowmobile but the ATVers never seen dime one come back to them it all goes to the snowmobilers. Maybe they should set up a toll booth on there new bridge LOL.
Steve Hawley
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Hey Sports Fans – Just a point of clarification because this issue has generated some interest – The fee is only paid by snowmobiliers. “Fee: $100 ($10 registration fee + $90 Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund fee).” (http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/forms/mv821sn.pdf) As you can see the extra charge is not a tax paid by you and me but only by snowmobilers to maintain and develop trails. The state was entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding this money that was designated for the sole purpose of developing and maintaining snowmobile trails. In this case, the State acts like a bank for the snowmobile fund by overseeing the account. If a bank misappropriated funds like this, it would be shut down and its managers would be sent to jail; why should the state be allowed to do otherwise? It is my responsibility as an elected official to ensure that the money snowmobilers pay, with the understanding it will be used to maintain their trails, will actually be used for its intended purpose.” Please review Assembly Bill 10732, which would prevent any transfer of funds from accounts that are specifically supported with a dedicated fee, such as the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund. Steve Hawley Batavia, NY
cj sruger
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Thank you Steve, From an avid snowmobiler, we appreciate what you are doing for us. Thank you and keep up the good work and don't let them get away with this. It is hard enough shelling out 100 dollars every year to register my snowmobile, actually only 70 because I would rather give 30$ to the Genesee sno-packers, instead of $55 for the state to steal. It is $45 to register if you are a member of a club or $100 if your not.
Dennis Gray
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Thank you Steve Hawley for sticking up for what is right. Fees collected from snowmobilers, hunting, thruway tolls, etc. should be spent on what it is intended for or refunded.
Sean Valdes
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Does anyone know the history behind this issue? Why, originally, did the state feel the need to start maintaining snowmobile trails? Also, is this maintenance on public property only, or private also? Who actually does the work, the clubs? Sorry for my clueless-ness - just wondering how we got here.
Jane Chaddock
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Sean, If you really want an answer to all your questions, come on down to our "CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS DAY" at our Maintenance Facility at 102 South Pearl, Oakfield this Saturday at 10am and speak to our Board of Directors, Volunteers and see what we are all about. We have a great group of people and I am sure you will get all the answers you are looking for. In fact, I believe you would be shocked at what we all do. You will see a magical moment in the eyes of these kids when you come down. Hope to see you there!

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