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RFA ASKS VA GOVERNOR TO GIVE BACK THE CASH
Budget Would Misdirect License Monies & Suspend State Fishing Tourney

(1/4/2012) Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell recently raised the ire of approximately 352,000 saltwater anglers in Virginia by announcing his plans to suspend the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, a state-run program funded primarily through the purchase of state fishing licenses.
As reported by Lee Tolliver in the Virginian-Pilot, the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament averages about 5,000 awards certificates or plaques each year for anglers who catch a variety of saltwater species meeting length or weight minimums, and is staffed by two employees with an annual budget of approximately $200,000 funded solely through the sale of state saltwater fishing licenses.

Under a new 2013-14 budget proposal being considered by Governor McDonnell, eliminating the 55-year-old statewide fishing tournament would mean that license revenues could be reallocated towards other fisheries management programs currently being funded through the state's general fund.

In a letter to Governor McDonnell on behalf of its members, the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) has encouraged the Virginia governor to reconsider the proposal to kill the longstanding fishing tournament, which they said has contributed greatly to the state's tourism revenue through increased angler effort and participation.

"RFA and its members know full well that these are tough economic times which require difficult fiscal decisions on how to best spend taxpayer dollars, however, suspending a money-making state program like the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament will ultimately lead to lost tourism receipts, decreasing tax revenues, and more private sector unemployment," wrote RFA executive director Jim Donofrio, while calling recreational fishing "a jobs creator" for Virginia.

A national non-profit political action organization dedicated to protecting the rights of saltwater anglers on every coast, RFA has staunchly opposed state and national efforts to enact a fee to fish in saltwater, referring to such money-making license programs as little more than taxes and tariffs which place undue economic burdens on coastal anglers while creating an obstacle for many citizens to access our natural public resources.

"License proponents would argue that a fee to fish leads to enhanced fishery programs, improved access to coastal fish stocks, and increased political clout for our saltwater angling community," said Donofrio in his letter to McDonnell, adding "the recent proposal put forth by your office to terminate the 55th annual Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament is a perfect example of why RFA remains adamantly opposed to these fees."

The Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman's Association of Virginia recently echoed RFA's long-time criticism of angler license programs in saltwater, noting how state anglers had originally been assured by the state government that license proceeds would be deposited into a "a dedicated fund that would be used to pump additional dollars into the enhancement of Virginia's recreational fishery," explaining that promises were made "these funds would not be taken to pay for programs currently funded by the general fund."

"Well that promise was broken almost as soon as it was made," the PSWSFA said in the news update. According to the writer, Virginia had previously cut funding to the statewide tournament, forcing anglers to agree to support reallocation of funding from saltwater license proceeds towards the annual contest. "Later governors continued to violate the agreement with the recreational angling community by taking more and more of the license fund to replace general funds," the PSWSFA update reads, noting further how license monies are also misdirected away from the state's artificial reef program.

"These are the two most popular programs we fund with our license money. If we are not funding them, why have a license at all? The answer is that we should not, other than the politicians in Richmond now see this as free money that we anglers stupidly gave them. Can they really not see how they have violated their constituents' trust? How did we ever give them that trust? It is now up to the General Assembly to make things right with Virginia's anglers," the PSWSFA noted.

RFA said that just after Christmans, Virginia State Senator Ralph S. Northam announced his plans to introduce an amendment to McDonnell's budget when the General Assembly convenes this month that would restore enough funds to keep the awards program active. "The Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament is a huge part of why recreational angling contributes so much to Virginia's economy," Sen. Northam said in a release. "The well-run citation, Expert and Master Angler, and annual species swards programs greatly enhance the draw of fishing in Virginia for natives and visitors alike. That means tourism revenue and jobs, two things that we should be looking to create, not destroy."

"Eliminating this funding is pennywise and pound foolish now and in the long run," the senator added.

While RFA would love to see Virginia's legislature respond to the license fiasco the same way as states like New York which repealed the saltwater fishing license entirely in 2011, Donofrio said he's hopeful that some gentle pressure by the recreational fishing community in Virginia could help keep the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament in place through 2013 and beyond.

"The angler fee has not had a positive impact on our freedom to fish in Virginia, and the plan to suspend the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament while reallocating user fees to supporting programs once covered under the state's general funding program will not sit well with our 352,000 Virginia saltwater anglers," Donofrio said in his letter, citing a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2006 survey which shows that approximately $304 million was spent by some 352,000 anglers on saltwater tackle in Virginia alone that year.

"These are significant financial numbers which represent a boon to the state in terms of tax base and revenue. The suspension of the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, which has contributed greatly to the state's tourism revenue through increased angler effort and participation, is a prime example of why RFA remains opposed to angler fees."

To view RFA's letter to Governor McDonnell, visit www.joinrfa.org/Press/GovernorVA_010211.pdf.


Do you like 'taxation without representation?' Are you willing to sit back and watch as your hard-earned taxes are spent supporting bureaucracy while public access to coastal resources continues to erode? If you'd prefer to stand up to government on behalf of your right to fish, then JOIN RFA TODAY and together let's keep fishermen fishing!


 

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Its criminal the power these stupid greedy politicians have, I don't know who are worse, bankers, stockbrokers, politicians, or lawyers? They all have one thing in common, greed, our entire political system is so corrupt, we (the 99%) don't have a snow ball's chance in hell against them. They are the reason our economy has gone to hell, I only wish there was a way to amend our Constitution to do away with funding for elections, get back the regulations on banking and the stock market, and put all the bankers, stockbrokers, politicians, and lawyers in jail for there blatant criminal acts that led to the 2008 financial crisis. Where is my bailout, and how come they can get away with it without getting punished? There is no political party that is doing the right thing, they are all corrupt and driven by money. Nothing can change without getting rid of the whole corrupt mess that we let them make. I don't believe the American people are smart enough to unify and get rid of all of them and the political system. Its a shame because nothing is ever going to get any better from here on out, it's only going to steady get worse.
 

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Its criminal the power these stupid greedy politicians have, I don't know who are worse, bankers, stockbrokers, politicians, or lawyers? They all have one thing in common, greed, our entire political system is so corrupt, we (the 99%) don't have a snow ball's chance in hell against them. They are the reason our economy has gone to hell, I only wish there was a way to amend our Constitution to do away with funding for elections, get back the regulations on banking and the stock market, and put all the bankers, stockbrokers, politicians, and lawyers in jail for there blatant criminal acts that led to the 2008 financial crisis. Where is my bailout, and how come they can get away with it without getting punished? There is no political party that is doing the right thing, they are all corrupt and driven by money. Nothing can change without getting rid of the whole corrupt mess that we let them make. I don't believe the American people are smart enough to unify and get rid of all of them and the political system. Its a shame because nothing is ever going to get any better from here on out, it's only going to steady get worse.
The above named occupations exist for one reason, their own self gain!!
 

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Its criminal the power these stupid greedy politicians have, I don't know who are worse, bankers, stockbrokers, politicians, or lawyers? They all have one thing in common, greed, our entire political system is so corrupt, we (the 99%) don't have a snow ball's chance in hell against them. They are the reason our economy has gone to hell, I only wish there was a way to amend our Constitution to do away with funding for elections, get back the regulations on banking and the stock market, and put all the bankers, stockbrokers, politicians, and lawyers in jail for there blatant criminal acts that led to the 2008 financial crisis. Where is my bailout, and how come they can get away with it without getting punished? There is no political party that is doing the right thing, they are all corrupt and driven by money. Nothing can change without getting rid of the whole corrupt mess that we let them make. I don't believe the American people are smart enough to unify and get rid of all of them and the political system. Its a shame because nothing is ever going to get any better from here on out, it's only going to steady get worse.
All politicians get elected because they get money from lobbyists. They are always indebted to someone....in other words they are always in "somebodys pocket".

Only one way for this to all end. For all of Congress to convene in D.C. and a bomb go off. Then we can get new senators and represenatives who are not in anyones pocket.

Obviously I would not want this to happen or condone this but its an illustration of how bad our political process is broken.

:huh:
 

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BOUGHT!!! All politicians are BOUGHT. time for a revolution.
That is why a lot of these politicians push so hard to get rid of the second amendment. History has shown time and time again that the first thing that goes is the right to bear arms, after that they really have total control.

A revolution probably really is the only answer. I mean when a bunch of bankers and stockbrokers can blatantly steal, lose all of our pensions, money and savings. Throw our economy into the worst unemployment and DEPRESSION ever, piss down our backs and tell us its raining and not get as much as a slap on the hand. They get a bailout, then give multi million dollar bonuses to each other, and still don't get punished for stealing money. If I stole a hundred dollars from a bank they would lock me up.

:nuts:
 

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Just another example of the evil involved with the love of money and power. The Roman empire is the way our country is going.
 
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