Reilich Calls On State to Return Stolen Snowmobile Funds
Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,C,I-Greece) is fighting to return $1 million to the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund that political leaders in Albany misappropriated into the general fund in order to balance the state's excessive spending.
"This money needs to be used for its original intent and not to help balance the state's irresponsible spending plan," said Reilich. "These funds must be returned to their rightful owners, New York state snowmobilers, and it needs to be returned now."
The $10 mandatory surcharges were put in place by a 2005 law to fund trail-development and maintenance projects across New York State's 10,000 miles of snowmobile terrain, but were mysteriously funneled into the 2008-09 budget's general account instead, to the chagrin of lawmakers such as Reilich who believed the money would go to snowmobile owners, not miscellaneous state projects.
To ensure that such a sweep of dedicated, committed funds does not occur in the future, Assemblyman Reilich is supporting legislation, which would make the budget process more transparent. He believes that by providing specific and detailed information on exactly where all the funds supporting legislation are coming from, legislators would better be able to deliberate the merits of proposed legislation.
"Increasing the transparency of the budget process will, hopefully, prevent the kind of misuse of funds that we are dealing with today and protect dedicated funds in the future," remarked Reilich. "Until we have greater transparency, a good start would be to right this wrong and use the $1 million for its original intent, helping to promote snowmobiling in New York State."
Assemblyman Reilich added that there are numerous snowmobile owners in Monroe County and thousands of other outdoor enthusiasts who use the trails and byways during the December-March snowmobile season each year throughout the state. He's hoping that with their support and others, enough pressure will be brought on state leaders to return the funds.
To garner support, Assemblyman Reilich is distributing a petition, "Return Our Money Now!," that demands return of the $1 million as soon as possible. For a sample of the official petition click here and residents interested in signing the petition can do so by visiting Assemblyman Reilich's district office located at 2737 West Ridge Road, Rochester, or by phone at (585) 225-4190.