Hawley: Transfer of $1 Million Away From Snowmobile Fund Is Unacceptable

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.”