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CCA Still Opposes Unfair Recreational License Fee Increases

CCA VA must again urge you to voice your objection to SB917. This bill asks recreational fishermen to pay 93% of the amount needed to restore VMRC's budget cuts. At the same time, commercial fishermen are only asked to pay 7%. CCA VA says that is not fair. SB917 is already in the House Appropriations Committee and is on a fast track to becoming law. You need to act TODAY. Call, fax, email, or visit your local delegate and the Appropriations Committee members. Tell them that you are opposed this unfair bill and want it killed or fixed.

CCA VA is not against full funding of VMRC. So we ask that the General Assembly provide full funding of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission using general funds, until appropriate and FAIR funding sources can be identified.

The measure is in the House Appropriations Committee. In addition to contacting your delegate we urge you to contact the members of the Appropriations committee their contact information is provided at the end of this alert. Additionally, you can contact the legislature by calling 800-889-0229 (698-1990 in Richmond). Just say you object to SB917 because it is unfair and that you support funding of the VMRC with general funds until a fair bill can be developed.

Remember, your Delegate and the Committee will not know that you want to see VMRC funded in a FAIR an equitable manner unless you call, fax or email to tell them. Most legislators in the coastal districts will probably vote against the bill. That means those of you in the central, Northern and Western parts of the state have to work hard to swing your delegates to vote NO on SB917. We are providing as much contact detail as possible in this alert. It is a long alert, but you need all the information to be effective.

Background

The bill adds $1,170,000 to the cost of recreational fishing licenses while asking the commercial fishing industry for a paltry $80,000. Recreational fees are proposed to increase by 66%, yet the commercial increase is only 16%. CCA VA says that is not fair!

The planned increases are especially unfair because commercial fishermen catch 80% of edible seafood landed in Virginia, yet commercial fishermen's license fees only generate 25% of the amount recreational anglers pay in license fees. These monies go into dedicated funds and are used for improvements, enforcement, education, research, and management; but the commercial sector is only paying for their own catch reporting system, contributing almost nothing to the other needs. This existing disparity will only be amplified by implementing the lopsided fee increases in SB917.

CCA representatives, in consultation with the administration and VMRC, developed a bill amendment proposal that levied the fee increases evenly among the user groups. While the administration ultimately rejected the CCA proposal, they rejected it on the grounds that an amendment with larger commercial fee increases would be too difficult to get approved during this legislative session. Apparently, the administration decided it was easier to leave the burden entirely on the recreational sector rather than fighting the seafood lobby.

VMRC will lose about 40 full time enforcement and fisheries management personnel without this funding. These positions are critical to managing and monitoring the fisheries and Virginians will lose some control over their marine resources without them. Therefore, CCAVA believes that the positions should be paid for, as they have been in the past, with general funds.

Action Required

CONTACT your delegate and the Appropriations Committee members. If your delegate is on the Appropriations Committee, call them! Detailed instructions and a sample message are included below.

The contact information for the Delegates on the House Appropriations committee is listed below. Delegates with "NR" after their names are on the Natural Resources Subcommittee. Delegate Ingram is the chair of the Natural Resources Subcommittee.

Follow this link to find who your delegate is: http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy/constinput.asp. For more information about the legislature and bills in this session go to http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm.

Send all faxes to house members to the same phone number: 804-786-6310.

Send email messages opposing SB917 to all the people on the House Appropriations Committee listed below immediately: If you don't have time for them all, send a message to the Natural Resources Subcommittee members (marked with NR) and your local delegate. You can copy and paste this list into your message. (Delete the "NR" after the subcommittee members.) Use the sample letter below as a guide, or if you are in a hurry, just copy and paste it as is. BE SURE to include your full name and address as a signature. List all the voters in your household if applicable.

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected] NR
[email protected] NR
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected] NR*
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected] NR
[email protected] NR
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected] NR
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected] NR


Sample Letter:

Please feel free to copy and use any or all of this message.

Dear Delegate:

Subject: SB917

Good government is about fairness, or at least the perception of fairness. SB917 bill is neither fair nor can it be perceived as fair. SB917 raises
license fees for recreational saltwater fishermen by 66% while only asking for a 16% increase for commercial fishermen. Since commercial
fishermen take 80% of the seafood resources removed from Virginia waters, why should they pay less to help fund VMRC in the agency's time of need?

Coastal Conservation Association Virginia worked hard to develop a comprehensive, balanced proposal where each sector paid about one half
of the needed funds with various fee increases. The administration rejected that fair proposal, leaving the burden of financing VMRC's budget shortfall
on the backs of recreational fishermen. When a fee increase is levied on only only one user group, it is a grossly unfair TAX, not a user fee.
A true user fee would be levied equally on all users. All that SB917 does is tax recreational users to subsidize commercial users. That is bad
government!

Now it is up to you fix the problem. Kill SB917 for the unfair tax it really is. Task the Budget Conference Committee with restoring VMRC's budget
with general funds until a fair user fee scheme can be developed and implemented.

Recreational saltwater fishing is a billion dollar economic engine for Virginia, employing as many as 20,000 people in full time jobs. It dovetails with
tourism and the kind of clean industries all governments covet. Don't dampen that sorely needed economic dynamo with an unfair tax.

I'll be watching to see how you vote on this bill.

Sincerely,
BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR FULL NAME(S) AND ADDRESS.

Virginia House of Delegates
The following is a fill list of all delegates and their Richmond office phone number. Call your delegate (or the legislative aide) and ask them to
oppose SB917 and secure general funds for VMRC.

Virginia House of Delegates
General Assembly Building
P.O. Box 406
Richmond, Virginia 23218

Fax: (804)786-6310
Constituent Viewpoint: (800)-889-0229
Member Name Room Capitol Phone District Party
Abbitt, Watkins M., Jr. 804 (804) 698-1059 59th I
Albo, David B. 527 (804) 698-1042 42nd R
Alexander, Kenneth C. 412 (804) 698-1089 89th D
Almand, James F. 404 (804) 698-1047 47th D
Amundson, Kristen J. 709 (804) 698-1044 44th D
Armstrong, Ward L. 813 (804) 698-1010 10th D
Athey, Clifford L., Jr. 510 (804) 698-1018 18th R
Barlow, William K. 421 (804) 698-1064 64th D
Baskerville, Viola O. 525 (804) 698-1071 71st D
Bell, Robert B. 810 (804) 698-1058 58th R
Black, Richard H. 517 (804) 698-1032 32nd R
Bland, Fenton L., Jr. 407 (804) 698-1063 63rd D
Bloxom, Robert S. 701 (804) 698-1000 100th R
Bolvin, Thomas M. 419 (804) 698-1043 43rd R
Brink, Robert H. 817 (804) 698-1048 48th D
Broman, George E., Jr. 526 (804) 698-1030 30th R
Bryant, L. Preston, Jr. 706 (804) 698-1023 23rd R
Byron, Kathy J. 414 (804) 698-1022 22nd R
Callahan, Vincent F., Jr. 947 (804) 698-1034 34th R
Carrico, Charles W., Sr. 713 (804) 698-1005 5th R
Christian, Mary T. 820 (804) 698-1092 92nd D
Cline, Benjamin L. 719 (804) 698-1024 24th R
Cole, Mark L. 808 (804) 698-1088 88th R
Cosgrove, John A. 416 (804) 698-1078 78th R
Councill, J. Paul, Jr. 523 (804) 698-1075 75th D
Cox, M. Kirkland 720 (804) 698-1066 66th R
Crittenden, Flora Davis 524 (804) 698-1095 95th D
Darner, L. Karen 711 (804) 698-1049 49th D
Devolites, Jeannemarie 515 (804) 698-1035 35th R
Dillard, James H., II 702 (804) 698-1041 41st R
Drake, Thelma 717 (804) 698-1087 87th R
Dudley, Allen W. 511 (804) 698-1009 9th R
Gear, Thomas D. 708 (804) 698-1091 91st R
Griffith, H. Morgan 607 (804) 698-1008 8th R
Hall, Franklin P. 614 (804) 698-1069 69th D
Hamilton, Phillip A. 501 (804) 698-1093 93rd R
Hargrove, Frank D., Sr. 821 (804) 698-1055 55th R
Hogan, Clarke N. 805 (804) 698-1060 60th R
Howell, William J. 635 (804) 698-1028 28th R
Hugo, Timothy D. 818 (804) 698-1040 40th R
Hull, Robert D. 422 (804) 698-1038 38th D
Hurt, Robert 812 (804) 698-1016 16th R
Ingram, Riley E. 413 (804) 698-1062 62nd R
Janis, William R. 705 (804) 698-1056 56th R
Joannou, Johnny S. 423 (804) 698-1079 79th D
Johnson, Joseph P., Jr. 811 (804) 698-1004 4th D
Jones, Dwight Clinton 508 (804) 698-1070 70th D
Jones, S. Chris 707 (804) 698-1076 76th R
Keister, W. Benny 819 (804) 698-1006 6th D
Kilgore, Terry G. 714 (804) 698-1001 1st R
Landes, R. Steven 528 (804) 698-1025 25th R
Lingamfelter, L. Scott 417 (804) 698-1031 31st R
Louderback, Allen L. 408 (804) 698-1015 15th R
Marrs, Bradley P. 509 (804) 698-1068 68th R
Marshall, Daniel W., III 809 (804) 698-1014 14th R
Marshall, Robert G. 522 (804) 698-1013 13th R
May, Joe T. 514 (804) 698-1033 33rd R
McDonnell, Robert F. 529 (804) 698-1084 84th R
McDougle, Ryan T. 715 (804) 698-1097 97th R
McQuigg, Michèle B. 418 (804) 698-1051 51st R
Melvin, Kenneth R. 502 (804) 698-1080 80th D
Miles, Floyd H., Sr. 420 (804) 698-1074 74th D
Moran, Brian J. 712 (804) 698-1046 46th D
Morgan, Harvey B. 521 (804) 698-1098 98th R
Nixon, Samuel A., Jr. 503 (804) 698-1027 27th R
Nutter, David A. 806 (804) 698-1007 7th R
O'Bannon, John M., III 518 (804) 698-1073 73rd R
Oder, G. Glenn 505 (804) 698-1094 94th R
Orrock, Robert D., Sr. 411 (804) 698-1054 54th R
Parrish, Harry J. 504 (804) 698-1050 50th R
Petersen, J. Chapman 710 (804) 698-1037 37th D
Phillips, Clarence E. 803 (804) 698-1002 2nd D
Plum, Kenneth R. 403 (804) 698-1036 36th D
Pollard, Albert C., Jr. 816 (804) 698-1099 99th D
Purkey, Harry R. 415 (804) 698-1082 82nd R
Putney, Lacey E. 948 (804) 698-1019 19th I
Rapp, Melanie L. 520 (804) 698-1096 96th R
Reese, Gary A. 807 (804) 698-1067 67th R
Reid, John S. 703 (804) 698-1072 72nd R
Rollison, John A., III 704 (804) 698-1052 52nd R
Rust, Thomas Davis 516 (804) 698-1086 86th R
Saxman, Christopher B. 506 (804) 698-1020 20th R
Scott, James M. 405 (804) 698-1053 53rd D
Sears, Winsome Earle 718 (804) 698-1090 90th R
Sherwood, Beverly J. 512 (804) 698-1029 29th R
Shuler, James M. 822 (804) 698-1012 12th D
Spruill, Lionell, Sr. 507 (804) 698-1077 77th D
Stump, Jackie T. 513 (804) 698-1003 3rd D
Suit, Terrie L. 721 (804) 698-1081 81st R
Tata, Robert 801 (804) 698-1085 85th R
Thomas, A. Victor 814 (804) 698-1017 17th D
Van Landingham, Marian402 (804) 698-1045 45th D
Van Yahres, Mitchell 401 (804) 698-1057 57th D
Wardrup, Leo C., Jr. 722 (804) 698-1083 83rd R
Ware, R. Lee, Jr. 409 (804) 698-1065 65th R
Watts, Vivian E. 406 (804) 698-1039 39th D
Weatherholtz, Glenn M. 716 (804) 698-1026 26th R
Welch, John J., III 519 (804) 698-1021 21st R
Woodrum, Clifton A. 802 (804) 698-1011 11th D
Wright, Thomas C., Jr. 410 (804) 698-1061 61st

***********************************************************************
The preceding was provided as a public service by the Coastal Conservation Association Virginia (CCA VA). Feel free it to forward it to your associates. If you have any comments concerning this issue, or would like to have your name added/removed from the distribution list send an email to [email protected] The CCA VA is a 501 C-3 charitable organization whose goal is "CPR" …Conserve, Protect and Restore marine resources for the benefit of all Virginians.

CCA VA Fisheries Management Committee 2003
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