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Senate “Sweeps Back” Snowmobile Funding
June 16, 2008, Albany, NY --- The New York Snowmobile Association (NYSSA), the volunteer organization representing more than 100,000 New York snowmobilers throughout the Empire State, praised today’s State Senate passage of legislation that would restore $1 million in funding to the State’s Snowmobile Trail Development and Management Account.
“We’re delighted the Senate has taken decisive action to have this funding that is solely generated by snowmobile registrations returned to snowmobile trail maintenance and safety. Snowmobiling is a critical part of the Upstate economy generating jobs and attracting tourism,” said Mike Fischer, President of New York State Snowmobile Association (www.nyssnowassoc.org).
In March of this year, the Director of the Budget directed the State Comptroller’s office to transfer $100 million in available fund balances to the state’s General Fund. As part of this transfer of these funds, $1 million was transferred from the Snowmobile Trail Development and Management Account.
“The money that was swept comes from the registration fees paid by snowmobilers and is desperately needed for maintaining and developing the statewide trail system. Trail maintenance is critical to safety and a priority for the 237 snowmobile clubs throughout the state who are willing to do the hard work, but are not willing to have their registration money taken by the Division of the Budget to plug a hole in the state budget,” said Fischer.
The Senate unanimously approved legislation, sponsored by Senator Joe Griffo and Senator Betty Little, that directs the Comptroller to put the $1 million back into the State’s Snowmobile Trail Development and Management Account, and directs the Commissioner of Parks to file an annual report with the Governor and Legislature accounting for all the money disbursed from the fund.
According to Fischer, in the past few years, NYSSA member clubs successfully urged the Legislature to raise snowmobile registration fees in order to increase the dedicated trail monies in the Snowmobile Trail Fund. These increases were desperately needed to keep pace with escalating costs to safely maintain the snowmobile trail system. Snowmobilers only agreed to these increases because these funds were to be set aside to reimburse snowmobile clubs for trail maintenance expenses including fuel for trail groomers, signs and other necessary costs.
“We commend the Senate for taking the lead. Now it’s up to the Assembly and the Governor to step up, stand up and restore this funding. Without passage of this legislation, many clubs will face severe budget cutbacks that will jeopardize their ability to safely maintain and groom the trail system next year,” said Fischer.
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We need to put on the pressure in the Assembly -Please make sure to call, e-mail, fax and snail mail letters ASAP.
Thanks for your patience and support making this happen.
Gary Broderick
Vice-President, NYSSA
 
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