The Pennsylvania Fish & Board Commission doesn’t receive any government funding, but even it would feel the effects of the looming fiscal cliff. That’s because their trust fund dollars would be subject to federal sequestration.
The Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Funds are raised through excise taxes on things like fishing tackle and boat fuel. The money can’t be spent on anything other than the intended purpose, but Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway says that wouldn’t stop the government from sequestering 7.6% next year.
“I really liken it to someone at a bank, who has access to your account information, and takes 7.6% out of your savings account without your permission to show that they can cover the bad checks that they’ve written,” Arway explains. “They promise to return the money sometime in the future, but in the meantime you have to find other funds to pay your bills.”
The shortfall would amount to almost a million dollars for the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission next year, which translates into almost 40,000 additional fishing licenses they would have to sell in order to avoid cuts to programs and services.
Arway is urging PA’s Congressional delegation to exempt excise tax revenue from sequestration, in the event that the federal government does not avert the fiscal cliff (a potentially devastating mix of tax hikes and automatic spending cuts) on the first of the year.