Here you will find a VERY comprehensive explanation that I received from a friend in the state who looked into it. He is a retired DEC Biologist and very knowledgeable.....
Take it slow.....
Gents (and others),
At first, I too thought this was an awfully amazing coincidence! So I did some research and contacted Conservation Fund Advisory Board (CFAB) Chairman, Jason Kemper. Jason's a good man, and I trust him thoroughly. This may be more than y'all wanted to know, but here goes:
In brief, the License Fee Structuring Proposal has been in the works for over a year, with discussions at CFAB meetings dating back to at least February, 2012 - long before the SAFE Act was initiated. I guess the question that still remains is: could it be that the timing of the governor's inclusion of this in his Executive Budget during the 30-day period was based on some thought of bone-throwing to us hook and bullet dogs affected by the SAFE Act? Some of you closer than I to Mr. Cuomo will have to ferret out that information!
One of the stimuli for the license fee restructuring proposal is that the Conservation Fund, which receives its revenues primarily from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, has been developing a huge surplus since the last sporting license fee increase was approved. This is primarily because the NYS Division of Budget, at the governor's behest, has been severely limiting the allocation of dollars to DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife. Consequently, few, if any, new hires have been added as people retired or moved onward, and programs have suffered. Yet the Conservation Fund now has a surplus of over $50 million! As it grows, it becomes more noticeable in the hallowed halls of state government, and more likely to attract attempted raids.
Following are some of Jason Kemper's comments on the matter:
Currently, revenue to the Conservation Fund Main Account is trending just above $50,000,000.00, [and] expenditures are trending around $35,000,000.00 (may be a slight
jump for the 2012-2013 fiscal year). Therefore, approximately $15,000,000.00 has been added to the Conservation Fund balance every year since the license fee increase.
The projected reduction of $5,200,000 in revenue is just that a projection and could possibly be much lower. The conservative assumption is being made that no more licenses will be sold as a result of this proposal when in reality the proposed license fee plan could promote additional sales especially with the fishing license being good for one year at time of purchase and other improvements and simplification with the license fee structure.
Regardless of the above two bullets, a surplus is predicted even when compared with the 2008 spending levels [some of the highest in recent history] if the new license fee proposal was to be adopted.
CFAB carefully considered revenues and expenditures to the Conservation Fund during the process of trying to simplify the license structure. The proposed license structure is a balance between continuing to ensure the long term stability of the balance in the Conservation Fund along with bringing revenues more in line with current expenditures as well as any expenditures into the foreseeable future.
We are continuing to fight to get our programs and staffing levels back to where they were at pre license fee increase and encourage other sportsmen organizations to do the same.
Jason's response to questions received from others:
1. Q. You are talking about taking in roughly 6 million dollars less each year with this license fee reduction. Why not keep license rates the same use that 6
million dollars each year and fix our Fish Hatcheries? At one time they projected it would take 20 million to repair all of fish hatcheries.
A. This is very complex, but in short the DEC is not being allocated the money necessary to make these improvements and the reduction of staffing levels has made it very difficult to get these projects moved forward. In addition, traditionally these improvements have come out of the Capital Program (with a lot of it being funded by General Fund money) not the conservation fund. CFAB is continuing to look for a long term solution to sustain the viability of the fish hatcheries.
2. Q. In this proposal for reduction of fees to CAFB it is stated that it will “Generate sufficient revenue to sustain fish and wildlife program”. Does that mean we will keep just the programs we have now?
A. No, CFAB is continuing to work on improving the fish and wildlife program.
3. Q. Will we get back programs and personnel that we have lost since the last license fee increase with the reduction if fees?
A. See comments above, CFAB will and encourages all other sporting organizations to continue to fight for the improvement of the fish and wildlife program
4. Q. With this reduction you have stated that it will be at least 5 years before we cross over into the red in the fund. How many years could we go if the fees stayed the same?
A. See comment above on revenue and projections. Keep in mind that the 5 years stated in the proposal is an extremely conservative approach and is based on selling the exact same amount of licenses. The CFAB believes that license sales will increase as a result of this proposal and therefore the reduction in revenue may not occur. Even with a reduction in revenue the board believes that this proposal will keep the Conservation Fund solvent well past the 5 years detailed in the proposal.
5. Q. If we were allowed to spend the money in the Conservation fund on our programs and increased the number of personnel back to levels back to 2009. How long before we would need another fee increase?
A. During the fiscal year prior to the license fee increase (2008-2009) the disbursements from the Conservation Fund were approximately $42,000,000.00. This was the largest amount disbursed in the last 10 years. Revenues currently are at approximately $50,000,000.00, even with a slight reduction in revenue IF it happens the balance in the fund could conceivably still grow even if we went back to pre 2009 staffing levels.
6. Q. Where did this proposal come from on reducing these Fee’s - DEC or CFAB?
A. CFAB has been having discussions on simplifying the license fee structure for several months and came up with a proposal in September of 2012. The Board requested that the DEC present the proposal to the Governors Office and that it be included in the Executive Budget proposal. It was not included in the Executive Budget and CFAB has requested it be included during the 30 day amendment period.
Hope you found this helpful. If you wish, send comments or questions to your CFAB reps or Chairman Jason Kemper.
https://www.governor.ny.gov/press/02202 ... nd-hunting