New York's Saltwater License to be Repealed
User Fee Will Be Gone in 180 Days - Replaced By Free Registry
York's saltwater fishing license is being repealed!
to the Associated Press, New York lawmakers and the Cuomo administration have
just reached an agreement to end the state's $10 annual saltwater fishing
license and replace it with a free registry for the state's coastal
waters. Legislators announcing the change yesterday say it will
cover two years.
Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) received a "high priority" email sent
through DEC channels yesterday afternoon regarding the license repeal, noting
that budget discussions between Governor Cuomo and the New York state
legislature helped facilitate the repeal effort, which is said will take place
in the next 180 days.
Tuesday, March 15th, a Senate Budget Resolution calling for the repeal of the
MTA Payroll Tax for public and private schools, as well as full repeal of the
saltwater fishing license was passed in the New York Senate. "I
made clear from the beginning of the Budget process that I would not support any
new taxes or fees," Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said last week.
Zeldin, a Long Island saltwater angler, last month introduced legislation in the
New York Senate (S3638) which would amend the environmental conservation law in
relation to establishing a registration system for saltwater recreational
fishing, essentially repealing that part which mandates that a fee to fish be
levied on saltwater anglers. Under the Senate Budget Resolution
passed last week, the saltwater fishing license and fee would end with the
expiration of the current 2011 license.
Friday, March 18th, a fax campaign was initiated by the RFA and the New York
Sportfishing Federation to help garner support from Assemblyman Robert Sweeney
(D-Lindenhurst) as chairman of the New York Assembly Environmental Conservation
Committee. According to the Associated Press, Stephen Liss,
counsel to Assemblyman Sweeney, said a three-way deal was worked out this past
Tuesday night which will be included in the upcoming budget.
Associated Press reports that an administration official confirmed the
agreement, which still must be ratified in the State Budget, which is expected
to be approved by April 1.
Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), who vehemently opposed the license
requirement two years ago, had sponsored legislation ever since to repeal the
requirement, including legislation in the current session with Sen. Zeldin
(A6169). Thiele also supported litigation by the Southampton and
East Hampton Trustees with five other Long Island Towns which successfully
obtained an injunction against the law in the seven Long Island towns.
In a release issued yesterday, Thiele said New York's license law will be
transformed into a registration requirement to meet federal law, and noted that
this week's agreement also provides that the registration will be guaranteed to
be free for the next two years. In addition, those who purchased lifetime
licenses will be granted a refund minus the fee for the past year.
idea of a saltwater fishing license was ill-conceived from the outset. Not only
was it a tax on one of the fundamental rights that Long Island residents have
had since colonial times, but it was a burden to the recreational fishing
industry at a time when the recession was taking its toll on the local economy.
This action will send a message that the State recognizes that the right to fish
should be free and that recreational fishing is a critical part of the Long
Island economy," Thiele said.
RFA said while some state workers may view the bipartisan decision in Albany as
a dark day for the public sector, the decision is good news for private sector
constituents concerned about the rising cost of bureaucracy.
all due respect to our friends in the public sector, the private sector is fed
up with this same old 'pay me now, bill me later' mentality permeating state
government," said RFA managing director Jim Hutchinson. "New York's saltwater
fishing license was an inferior product from the start, and as consumers,
constituents and taxpayers, our state's sportfishermen asked that it be
grateful to all those New York legislators who showed what true bipartisan
leadership is all about," Hutchinson said, crediting Governor Cuomo, Sen.
Zeldin, Assemblyman Sweeney and Assemblyman Thiele for working together to
secure an agreement on behalf of the New York marine district.
who would impose a user fee on public access are quick to make claims of the
privilege of fishing and paying for said privilege, but that's not the way we
see things at the RFA," Hutchinson said. "The vast majority of
sportsmen in New York's marine district do not believe that fishing is only a
privilege, but instead believe strongly in their right to access this public
resource. The recent legal challenge on the East End helped
reconfirm that long-held belief, and we have nothing but praise for those
legislators for helped honor that continued coastal tradition, from the
Governor's office on out to our Long Island Assembly and Senate leaders,
democrats, republicans and independents alike," he said.
and the New York Sportfishing Federation also wish to thank all those members
and friends who participated in this past weekend's fax campaign to spread the
word about the repeal efforts, which they believe made a significant impact in
getting the license repeal through.