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