New York State Snowmobile Political Action Committee: Your $.25 at Work!
Governor Cuomo enjoying NY’s trails.
The Importance of NYSSA Government Relations
The New York State Snowmobile Association has an assertive government relations program.
Portions of the program include:
- educating the State Legislature and Administration on the magnitude snowmobiling has on the State Economy ($868 million annually);
- supporting/opposing legislation that impacts our membership and organizations;
- and providing public and written comments on the diverse actions of state agencies regulating where and how we can ride.
NYSSA has implemented this program at all levels of government to engage with elected and appointed officials for the benefit of snowmobiling and its related activities.
While NYSSA has a strong and effective grassroots organization powered by the collective voice of its 235 clubs and the 90,000 NY snowmobile families, there is no substitute for a professional “boots-on-the-ground” lobbying presence at the State Capitol to augment this effort.
Capitol Group, LLC continues to be our go-to team for state lobbying in Albany, promoting the NYSSA agenda as developed by the Government Affairs Committee members of our Board of Directors. CG assists us in advancing our legislative agenda on the state level while The American Council of Snowmobile Associations provides guidance on the Federal level.
The New Session
The upcoming 2016 State and Federal Legislative Session will present many challenges for NYSSA.
More Money for Trails
Perhaps most daunting is the status of the underfunded state Snowmobile Trail Fund. Registrations have simply declined over the last decade but the clubs are still required to maintain 10,500 miles of trail in order to receive any of the registration money to do so. NYSSA was successful in the spring of 2016 in getting the Legislature and the Governor to add an additional $5 from the existing registration fee to the trail fund. NYSSA expects that this success will add $500,000 -$600,000 to the trail fund annually. More money in the trail fund translates into better trails.
Increased Penalties for Unregistered Sleds
Most of us are diligent about registering and insuring our sleds before we go out on the trail. Those who ride without a valid registration are basically stealing from the rest of us. Currently, the highest penalty for this violation is $250, which is not quite enough to dissuade freeloaders from trying to get away without registering. NYSSA supports efforts to raise the fine for “no” registration and create a lower penalty for the improper display of the registration decal.
There appears to be a concerted effort to make safety education for youth available through online education. The NYSSA Safety and Education Committee has expressed a concern that an online course without any hands-on interaction is not feasible as the sole method of instruction for young riders. NYSSA will ensure that these concerns are shared with the policy makers and that partial in-person instruction remains an option in the youth education program.
“Free Snowmobiling” Weekend
There is no doubt that we must do more to promote the sport if we are to continue to be a viable pastime in upstate. We must do more to promote the sport to new riders in New York State. Last season working with the Governor’s office and building on our Take a Friend Snowmobiling program, we established a weekend where riders whose sleds were properly registered and insured in their home state could come from out of state and ride our trails without securing a NYS registration. We will work with the Governor’s office to establish the details of this “FREE” weekend earlier each season, so we can better promote it. We are confident that if snowmobile riders come from neighboring states and Canada, they will come back again to enjoy what we have in NYS.
Federal: Recreational Trails Program
The Recreational Trails Program is part of the Federal Highway bill and provides grants to our snowmobile clubs. Many of these grants have allowed our clubs to replace and upgrade grooming equipment which is very expensive. Sometime this fall or early winter Congress must re-authorize the federal highway bill in the face of falling highway fuel tax revenue. NYSSA will be working with our federal representatives to ensure that the RTP stays part of the Federal Highway Bill.
Your $.25 donation to NYSSA PAC
Each year when you renew your membership you are provided the opportunity to contribute $.25 to the NYSSA Political Action Committee. The NYSSAPAC is composed of current and past directors of NYSSA as well as the Executive Director.
Your continued support is needed for the NYS Snowmobile PAC. The PAC is the mechanism by which snowmobile clubs and their members can pool their resources so they can have a larger and more concentrated voice in the political process. PAC contributions are made directly to candidates for state elective office who have a history of supporting our issues, and provides opportunities for NYSSA to personally meet with our representatives.
Our presence in Albany has reached new heights over the years and we should be proud of our many accomplishments. Such success comes from having many advocates among the state’s leaders who deserve our support.
The PAC complies with all NYS election law requirements for filing reports. Over 85% of NYSSA members contribute to the PAC, and although the $.25 is hardly noticed by individual members, that quarter adds up to a significant amount, which allows the PAC to project support to key public officials. We thank everyone who contributes to the PAC and ask if you have not in the past, you will consider contributing in the future.
The importance of a viable and effective Political Action Committee cannot be overstated. Please send your donation to the NYS Snowmobile PAC today and help us to achieve our goal.