Valley Viewpoints: Repeal snowmobile bill

by Robert Jonick, North Syracuse

The year 2012 was the lowest snowmobile registration year in the past 18 years. New York State and the Snowmobile Association need to wake up. They are on the “Titanic” and need to change course.

Last year, registrations for snowmobiles saw a drop of about 45,000, causing the trail fund to lose about two million dollars. It’s time now to resolve this snowmobile registration issue and enact a $25 non-trail registration fee.

At the May 2010 meeting, the board of directors of the Snowmobile Association president, Gary Broderick, said he wanted to resolve the sportsmen’s issue regarding the non-trail registration fee.

The Association can no longer use the excuse that the winters are warmer, the economy is bad or gas prices are too high. You now need the sportsmen’s money. The numbers say it all.

In 2005, when Gov. Pataki held office, snowmobile registrations were at an all time high of 172,000. After Bill No. 6815, Snowmobile Rights and Responsibility, was enacted snowmobile registration has seen a steady drop.

In the last eight years, there has been a loss of 78,000 snowmobile registrations resulting in a huge loss of revenue to the New York State Trail Fund and 170 snowmobile clubs.

Also, revenue losses to many small businesses that depend on snowmobiling for their livelihood.

How does this registration loss promote the sport of snowmobiling?

New York State should get out of the business of recruiting new members for snowmobile clubs. Bill No. 6815 has cost the state millions of dollars. In the corporate world, a CEO would be fired for such a loss and the mandate causing the loss repealed or scraped. It is time for Albany to do the right thing. Repeal or modify Bill No. 6815 and resolve the issue of the $25 non-trail registration fee.

Sportsmen such as ice fishermen, trappers and hunters would thank you.

The bill now pending for the $25 non-trail registration fee is S-1973 sponsored by Sen. Joseph Griffo and A-152 sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Magee.

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