Critical Trail Funding Legislation Alert

Hi all, I am writing to you in a last effort to make certain that LD 1263 (“An Act to raise snowmobile registration fees”) is signed by Governor LePage.

Both the House and Senate passed this bill, but the rumor is that LePage will veto it just like he did the ATV bill, LD 911.

The bill will raise the resident registration fee from the current $40 to $45 as well as raise the non-resident 3 day registration, implement a new 7 day non-resident registration, raise the full season non-resident registration and stop the sales tax on off road diesel for trail grooming purposes. None of these measures will take effect until the 2014/2015 season.

In my opinion this whole Tea Party position of “no new taxes” is going to kill some snowmobile clubs and ultimately a number of small businesses. It is not just a tax, it is a very fair user fee. Only snowmobilers will have to pay the extra $5 fee. It’s equal to just 1.6 gallons of gasoline. It’s less than half of what a resident of New Hampshire has to pay to legally ride their trails. It’s about 1/4 of what a Vermont resident has to pay to ride the VAST system.

We need this bill to pass or a number of clubs are going to fold and we will see a fragmentation of our wonderful trail system. That will be the beginning of the end of snowmobiling as we know it in Maine.

This bill is not supported by the MSA! I can’t imagine why that is. All (or most) of the clubs in Maine are suffering financially and if we can’t come up with enough funding to adequately groom our trails we will see the number of snowmobilers decline and all related snowmobile dealers, lodging, gas, and restaurant businesses in Maine will suffer accordingly.

Senators Saviello, Sherman, Thomas and Whittemore (among others) all voted against this bill (update 6/27 – but Senators Saviello and Sherman just voted to increase your sales taxes for the next two years!). Their constituents in the business communities that they represent all depend on snowmobiling to survive. Why would they vote against a $5 increase when Maine is the lowest registration fee state in the Northeast snowbelt???

Please contact the Governors office and your local Senators and Representatives and tell them how important this bill is to the survival of the snowmobiling industry in Maine.

Maybe it’s not too late to change their minds.

Thank You,

Rick LeVasseur
Chairman, Snowmobile Trail Fund Advisory Council
President, Jo Mary Riders Snowmobile Club

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