January 4, 2009

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Ball urges Governor to retain “only remaining pheasant farm”

PATTERSON – Republican State Assemblyman Gregory Ball of Putnam County Saturday urged Governor David Paterson to keep the Reynolds Game Farm in Tompkins County open.

A budget recommendation from the state Department of Environmental Conservation would close the facility.

“While pheasant hunting continues to offer New Yorkers the ultimate and most popular upland game hunting experience and an excellent opportunity to introduce youngsters to the challenges and rewards of hunting birds with a trained dog, Governor Paterson’s proposed budget effectively dismantles the only remaining pheasant farm left in the state,” said Ball.

Ball delivered a letter on behalf of Hudson Valley sportsmen to the Governor asking if the present $750,000 annual cost of the program “truly outweighs its benefits.”

The letter emphasized the fact that the state pheasant program is not funded with taxpayer dollars, as funding to operate the Reynolds Game Farm comes exclusively from the Conservation Fund which is funded through license fees paid by hunters.

“Almost 600,000 hunters spend over $700 million annually on hunting and hunting related activities,” Ball said. “The alternative for many of these hunters who enjoy pheasant hunting is to spend their money in another state. What sense does that make?”

Ball said while the state faces a financial emergency, the Governor’s proposals already produce $3.1 billion in new taxes and fee increases during a recession. “Meanwhile, as if the all-out tax assault on small businesses and working families wasn’t enough, the Governor’s plan contains no measures to help the upstate economy rebound.”

Ball’s letter urges Patterson to restore the Reynolds Game Farm funding in his 21-day amendments due in mid-February.

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