The controversial bill that intends to provide free hunting and fishing license to volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers has been amended in Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation. The revised bill is no longer written to grant free hunting and fishing licenses. Instead, the bill would accomplish its goal by granting a tax credit equal to the amount of license fees paid by qualifying individuals.

When our original story was first posted, Rick McDermott of the New York Crossbow Coalition correctly warned that the bill couldn't work as originally written.

McDermott commented, "This is a great idea, but with the wrong approach. Hunting and fishing licenses go into the only dedicated fund in NY, the Conservation Fund. That is the money that the DEC uses to operate the programs like fish hatcheries, and The Reynolds Game Farm to raise the pheasants that get released in NY. Additionally, manufacturers pay an 11% excise tax on almost anything you purchase to hunt and fish with, guns, bullets, bows, crossbows, arrows, fishing rods, tackle etc to the Federal Government through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 and it's amendments since. This money is returned to the states based on how many licenses are SOLD. Free licenses do not qualify."

McDermott did suggest a way for this bill to actually succeed: as a fully refundable tax credit. This appears to be exactly the way the bill was modified in committee, greatly increasing the chances that this bill could see passage.

For more information, view the amended bill or contact the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Sue Serino here.

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