Brewster, N.Y. – (1/10/12) – The New York State Senate has successfully passed legislation sponsored by Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) that protects $20 million in federal funding to provide imperative support for free hunter education classes, manage fish and wildlife populations, provide public hunting, fishing and boating access, and build and maintain public shooting ranges.
“As Chairman of the New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and an avid sportsman myself, I refuse to stand by and watch the New York State budget be balanced on the back of New York Sportsmen,” Senator Ball said. “By creating a ‘lock box’ this move ensures that both New York Sportsmen and our wildlife populations will be protected for years to come.”
The $20 million comes from the federal Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson funding. The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Acts levy an excise tax on the sale of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels, and this money is returned to the states each year via grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
In order to receive this valuable funding, states must agree not to spend license money and other dedicated wildlife funding on purposes outside of wildlife conservation. If they do, they risk losing their federal apportionments. Unfortunately, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2011-2012 budget allowed the DOB to use money from the conservation fund to balance the state’s budget. Even if the DOB has no intent on using conservation fund money for other reasons than its intent, the fact that the budget allows for them to do so is enough for the USFWS to withhold this critical funding.
Under this legislation, no revenue dollars required to be deposited in the conservation fund can be used for any purpose other than the administration of the division of fish, wildlife and marine resources of the department of environmental conservation. New York State Pistol & Rifle President Tom King said this is a big win for sportsmen across the state.
“The sportsmen of New York thank Senator Ball for his courageous advocacy and are very thankful that passed legislation that will save $20 million in federal funds for New York sportsmen,” King said. “Congratulations to Senator Ball!
Sportsman have contributed a total of $13.7 billion in these excise taxes since the creation of the fund in 1937. In 2011, New York was apportioned $9,133,327 in Dingell-Johnson and $11,215,150 in Pittman-Robertson grant funding—for a total of $20,348,477.