For the thousands of Upstate New Yorkers who enjoy our region’s snowmobile trails, it’s déjà vu all over again.
Two years after Governor Paterson gave his word that the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund would be used solely for its intended purpose, the Governor has again ordered a $1 million sweep from the fund in order to address the state's budget crisis. Under the Governor’s disastrous Executive Budget proposal, $ 1 million dollars will be taken out of the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund and put directly into the State's general revenue fund. The Governor's budget also increases state spending by $5 billion and raises taxes by over $1 billion,
This Snowmobile Trail Management and Development Fund comes from the registration fees paid by snowmobilers and is desperately needed to maintain and improve the State snowmobile trail system. The registration fees collected from those individuals who enjoy winter sports and snowmobiles should go towards trail maintenance and improvements rather than be used by the Governor to pay for the State's overspending.
The Governor’s actions are an irresponsible money grab that will further damage Upstate’s economic recovery. New York’s snowmobile trails are a valued asset to tourism and small business in the Upstate region. Governor Paterson and his fellow New York City legislators just don’t understand how popular, how well-organized, and how economically important the snowmobiling community is to Upstate New York. Snowmobiling is a major business that attracts thousands of visitors who stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores and support our local economies. According to the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Snowmobile industry contributes more than $875 million to our state economy each year!
Snowmobile clubs throughout New York State have worked hard to keep the Snowmobile Trail Fund intact and I do not believe that this fund should be raided to offset another spending increase in the Governor's budget. I will be urging Governor Paterson to restore this critical funding.