Senator Lee M. Zeldin and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. Announce Legislation (S.3638) to Repeal New York’s Saltwater Fishing Fee

Brentwood, NY- State Senator Lee M. Zeldin (R, C, I- Shirley) announced at a Saturday press conference and rally that he will be introducing legislation on Monday to repeal the New York State Saltwater Fishing License fee.  The press conference was held at the 2011 annual Suffolk County Boat and Sport Fishing Show amongst a large crowd of fishing enthusiasts.  Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I- Sag Harbor) was on hand to announce his partnership as the sponsor of the bill in the State Assembly. 

“During my campaign, I made repeal of the Saltwater Fishing License fee one of my top priorities.  Now in office, I have the opportunity to follow through on those campaign promises.  The Saltwater Fishing License fee places an added burden on our way of life here on Long Island,” stated Senator Zeldin.

Most recently, this week in New Jersey, Governor Christie signed legislation to establish a free saltwater registry bill for New Jersey residents.

“The enactment of a saltwater fishing license fee two years ago was just another ill-considered tax grab to deal with New York’s budget problem. I voted ‘no’. Thankfully, seven Long Island towns took the state to court and won. There currently is a permanent injunction in place prohibiting the license and fee from being implemented in these Towns. Governor Cuomo, who refused to defend the law as Attorney General, has said repeatedly that we can not resolve New York’s fiscal problems with more taxes. Now is the time to repeal the license and replace it with a free, annual registration requirement, similar to the one signed by Governor Christie in New Jersey earlier this week.  By enacting our bill, New York will be saying ‘yes’ to jobs and the right to fish and ‘no’ to the policies of tax and spend,” said Assemblyman Thiele.

“Since colonial times, Long Islanders have enjoyed fishing in our local bays, the Sound and Atlantic Ocean.  It’s part of our history, and for many it’s the reason why we live here.  The saltwater fishing license was a bad idea and an unfair back-door tax that should never have been imposed on us, and I’m proud to co-sponsor this bill to repeal it,” said Assemblyman Dean Murray.  “I want to thank Senator Zeldin for taking the initiative to lead the charge on this issue in the Senate, and Assemblyman Fred Thiele for sponsoring the legislation in the Assembly.”

“The saltwater fishing license in New York is a broken law built on broken promises, and our saltwater fishing community applauds Sen. Zeldin for stepping up and addressing this issue early into his term,” said Jim Hutchinson, managing director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) and president of the New York Sportfishing Federation.

“We applaud the Senator for recognizing the value of the recreational fishing industry.  We have been overtaxed and under-recognized as a viable contributor to New York's economy for too long, and Sen. Zeldin seems ready to reverse this trend on behalf of his fellow fishermen.  I am proud to stand with Senator Zeldin today,” said John Mantione, spokesman for the New York Fishing Tackle Trade Association (NYFTTA). 

“Recreational and commercial salt-water fishing is one of the many great things about Long Island.  We shouldn't have to pay for an activity that generations have always enjoyed for free,” concluded Senator Zeldin. 

A copy of the bill in its draft form is attached and will be submitted for a bill number on Monday, February 28th.