The Devil is in the Details - Sportsmen Beware of TEL

By Larry S. Moore

Ottawa County's, The Beacon ran a very informative op-ed piece March 9th entitled href=""
target="_blank">"Outdoor Sports Lovers
Beware". This is just the start of in depth analysis of the proposed TEL
(Tax and Expenditure Limitation) constitutional ammendment being
considered this year by Ohio's Republican candidates for Governor.

From the article:

    The newest threat to hunting and fishing in Ohio isn’t an exotic
    species from a foreign land or urban sprawl gobbling up green space;
    it’s a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit state and
    local government spending. The proposal would also divert proceeds from
    hunting and fishing license fees to other purposes and eventually
    eliminate the Wildlife Fund balance. The net impact of the proposal
    would be a significant reduction in publicly financed wildlife

    The Citizens for Tax Reform, a group led by Secretary of State
    Kenneth Blackwell, has collected enough signatures to place a
    constitutional amendment calling for a tax and expenditure limitation
    (TEL) on the fall 2006 ballot. The proposal would limit annual growth in
    state and local government spending to the higher of 3.5 percent or
    inflation plus population. Ten percent of any revenues in excess of the
    cap would be diverted to the state rainy day fund or returned to Ohioans
    as tax rebates. Exceeding the cap at the state level would require a
    special appropriations bill identifying specific spending and revenues
    approved by a special statewide vote. Exceeding the cap, or enacting a
    new property tax levy for a local government (such as a park district),
    would have a much higher standard, requiring an affirmative vote of
    every registered voter in the community.

The article goes on to explain the devastating effects a similar
policy has had in Colorado and it's parks systems and what similar
measures would do to Ohio.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

The following part of the analysis should have hunters, sportmen and
outdoor enthusiasts shaking in their boots.

Again from the article:

    The TEL would also apply to special revenues collected by the state.
    For instance, people that hunt and fish in Ohio are required to have a
    license, obtained for a fee that is deposited in the Ohio Department of
    Natural Resources Wildlife Fund, which is used to support game and fish
    propagation. If the fund were reduced, the health of Ohio’s fisheries
    would also decline.

    The TEL would affect the Wildlife Fund in three ways. First, the TEL
    would restrict the amount that could be spent from the fund each year.
    For instance, spending from the Wildlife Fund would have been reduced by
    over $33 million if the TEL had been in place since FY 1995.

    Second, the TEL would cause Wildlife Funds to be diverted to other,
    completely unrelated purposes. If the TEL had been in place between FY
    1995 and FY 2005, over $30 million in license fees would have been
    diverted to the state rainy day fund and to tax rebates.

    Third, that diversion of Wildlife Funds would ultimately result in
    the elimination of the fund balance, which provides a cushion for the
    agency and allows it to effectively manage its resources and respond to
    unique circumstances.

This article is absolutely right on target. However, in the typical
political "one-upmanship" that is the game plan for primary season, the
Petro campaign also has their version of the TEL. While not as widely
known as the Blackwell-backed proposal, the Petro version would have the
same effect on the funding for wildlife conservation, fisheries, etc in

While both candidates are co-endorsed by Buckeye Firearms
Association for their position on concealed carry and the Second
Amendment, both proposals are equally dangerous to the sportsmen and
the wildlife of Ohio, and we encourage the campaigns to reconsider their proposals in light of these concerns.

Click href=""
target="_blank">here to read the entire op-ed by by David A. Ellis,

Ohio Legislators have made tremendous strides this year to protect
hunter and sportsmen dollars. Please visit the links below for a recap.

Related Stories:

target="_blank">Bill to Protect Sportsmen’s Dollars Sent to

target="_blank">USSA: Legislature Gets Serious about Protecting
Sportsmen’s Dollars

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