Senator George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) today criticized the Governor for trying to raid a dedicated fund set aside for snowmobile trail development to pay for bloated state spending in other areas.
“The name says it all—the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund,” Senator Maziarz said. “Through registration fees, it’s paid for by snowmobilers, for snowmobilers. Any attempt to dip into this fund to pay for other unrelated things in the state budget should be stopped dead in its tracks.”
In his executive budget proposal, Governor Paterson proposes transferring $1 million from the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund into the state’s General Fund. Another $1 million would be transferred in the 2011-2012 state fiscal year. Senator Maziarz also pointed out that the executive budget proposal for the 2008-2009 state fiscal year contained a similar $1 million raid of the snowmobile trail fund into the General Fund—a proposal that was not included as part of the final adopted budget for that year.
“The last time this type of highway robbery was attempted was in 2008,” Senator Maziarz said, “Then, through intense public pressure, we succeeded in beating it back. Now that challenge is before us again.”
In the wake of the attempted 2008 trail fund raid, Senator Maziarz introduced legislation to prevent any future raid from occurring. Specifically, the bill (S.3207 of 2010) states that moneys in dedicated funds, such as the snowmobile fund, “shall not be transferred to any other fund or account or used for any purpose other than that designated by the fund.” Unfortunately, the bill has not yet been passed into law.
“The current raid proposed by the governor demonstrates why the legislation I introduced in 2008 should be passed into law,” Senator Maziarz said. “Snowmobiling is part of the way of life in Upstate New York and it plays a vital role in our economy. The popular pastime should not be subjected to the never-ending games and gimmicks played by the Executive. My bill would protect the snowmobile trail fund to guarantee that the moneys deposited into it would be used for trail development and maintenance exclusively. I strongly urge that this bill be reported out of the Senate Finance Committee and passed into law.”