On February 24, House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources received a memo from House Ways and Means regarding the Transportation Fee Bill – which includes changes to the Motorboat Registration Fund that funds the Department of Environmental Conservation’s aquatic nuisance control grants. All motorboat registration fees are proposed to be increased, and the formula that allocates funding among several departments and agencies is proposed to be significantly changed. The existing aquatic nuisance control surcharge on motorboat registrations would be eliminated. Those funds would be added to the Motorboat Registration Fund and there would be a new “Aquatic Nuisance” allocation of 20% of the revenues.
Click here to review a Revenue Comparison prepared by the Joint Fiscal Office. (Note that FY16 is the current year’s funding. FY17 would be next year’s predicted funding.)
The chart shows that the combined allocation for the Department of Environmental Conservation and aquatic nuisances will increase by the smallest amount of any of the departments/agencies receiving funding from the Motorboat Registration Fund. If the proposed fee increases and new allocation formula go into effect, the Department of Public Safety is predicted to receive a 14% increase in funding in FY17. The Department of Fish and Wildlife would receive a 16% increase in funding and the Agency of Transportation and Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets would each receive a 19% increase in funding. DEC (up 16%) and Aquatic Nuisances (up 8%) would get an 11% increase in funding from the increased fees and the new funding allocation.
Click here to read the most recent draft of the Transportation Fee Bill under consideration by the House Ways and Means Committee. The motorboat registration fee increases can be found on page 50 of the draft, and the proposed funding allocation formula is on page 53.
The draft Transportation Fee Bill has not yet been introduced in the House, and thus no bill number has been assigned to it.