“This issue is not just about snowmobilers – it is about government trying to grab every single penny, from every source, without being held accountable. The snowmobile fund was a dedicated fund that Albany should not have been able to spend. The misguided actions of our state government and their raid on the snowmobilers’ fund will not only impact recreation, it affects the economies of our communities all across the state,” said Hawley. “Many of my constituents who snowmobile at home also travel to the Tug Hill Plateau or Old Forge on vacations with their families. These areas benefit from this economic stimulus.”
After learning that this year’s State Budget swept $1 million from the snowmobile fund, Hawley was the first to call on the state to immediately return the money. He authored and introduced legislation, Assembly Bill 10732, to prevent the transfer of funds from accounts that are specifically supported with a dedicated fee, such as the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund. He also spearheaded a statewide petition drive, which collected thousands of signatures from concerned New Yorkers, as well as personally circulating a petition to state lawmakers, asking for their support in returning the funds. Over 60 members of the Assembly, from both sides of the aisle, signed the petition.
Despite bipartisan support, the regular legislative session ended last night without resolution on the issue. That’s why Hawley and his colleagues, including Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward (R, I, C-Willsboro), Assemblyman Marc W. Butler (R,C,I-Newport), Assemblyman Cliff Crouch (R-Guilford), Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C-Springport), Assemblyman Joe Giglio (R,I,C-Gowanda) and Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,C,I-Greece) met with Governor Paterson’s Director of Legislative Affairs and staff to deliver the petitions and urge the Executive Chamber to bring lawmakers back to Albany to resolve this issue.
“We stressed to the Governor’s office that if the legislature is not going to take action, we need to come together in order to develop a new registration system in order to protect snowmobilers and other groups from having their funds swiped again. I will continue working with the Governor’s office and my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in order to return the funds and ensure that Albany is held accountable for its spending,” stated Hawley.