September 29, 2020

Getting Paid for Getting Tail

What do you do when you really, really, need a hunter to kill some deer? Simple. You make it worth his while. When he registers a whitetail he’s killed, you give him $150 for his trouble—or, rather, for his deer tail. That’s what officials in Block Island, Rhode Island, did last fall. Like many suburban areas, Block Island—a 9,734-acre landmass off the state’s coast—struggles to control its whitetail population. “We’ve had estimates as high as 80 deer per square mile,” says Nancy Dodge, town manager in North Shoreham. “And the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) recommends about 10 deer per square mile. We have a high incidence of Lyme disease here, and people were getting really concerned.” Hunting is legal on Block Island, but not on weekends or during school holidays. “We have hiking trails and open spaces throughout the island that are used heavily by residents and tourists alike,” says Dodge. “Basically, our hunters were telling us that in order to and hunt, they’d need to take time off from work, and many couldn’t afford to do that.”

Source: Rhode Island Town Pays Bucks for Bucktail | Field & Stream

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You Can’t Borrow My Axe Because It’s Tuesday

I have, on occasion – okay, well maybe a bit more than occasionally – told the ancient story of how a neighbor came to ask if he could borrow an axe. The man said, “No, it’s Tuesday.” In puzzlement the neighbor asks, “What’s Tuesday have to do with it?” The man replied, “Nothing! But if I don’t want you to borrow my axe, one excuse is as good as another.”

And so we have it. From an article found in the Jamestown Press, the island located in Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, is overrun with deer and people are fretting about contracting Lyme disease. The Town Council have approved a plan to allow volunteer hunters to kill the deer with a goal to reduce the deer population on the island down to about 10 deer per square mile. The current density stands at around 50 deer per square mile.

While it is hoped that reducing the deer population, down to something manageable, it will also decrease the incidence of Lyme disease occurring in humans. However, there are those opposed to killing deer to solve the problem.

There is considerable arguments for and against whether culling deer herds in Lyme tick-infested regions reduces Lyme disease. We know that deer aren’t the cause of Lyme disease, they just become a good breeding source for the tick that carries the disease. The thought process is that reducing the number of deer will decrease the amount of tick reproduction. But opponents to killing deer (I guess they would rather kill humans) say reducing the deer population doesn’t do any good…..well, unless of course you lower it to say, 10 deer per square mile and keep it that way and that probably would involve an ongoing management plan that involves continuous harvesting of deer.

Odd that while not the Lyme tick, the winter “moose tick” in Maine is troublesome and biologists there believe that reducing the number of moose would result in a reduction of the ticks. But that’s moose ticks and nothing would be as absurd as concluding that reducing deer numbers would reduce Lyme ticks. Pffft!

But what’s this got to do with the neighbor and his axe? Well, nothing but it does have to do with excuses. Based on the article linked to above, it is loaded with whining, bitching and complaining about everything that won’t work and yet, nobody offers any ideas of what will. Is this a case of people just not wanting anybody to hunt deer and so one excuse is just as good as another?

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Law Banning Gun Silencers Stops Deer Culling on Block Island, RI

Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island, is 9.5 square miles and has as many as 1,000, perhaps more, inhabiting that island. That’s too many as the math tells us that amounts to around 100 deer per square mile.

A deer hunting was scheduled…..of course, not utilizing any licensed hunters or even residents of the island. Instead “sharpshooters” were hired to kill perhaps as many as 200 deer. That would reduce the deer per square mile down to 85. I assume because residents might be scared or offended by gun shot blasts (and perhaps the culling would take place during the nighttime hours), the sharpshooters had or intended to use silencers on their weapons. What no archery weaponry? What kind of “sharpshooters” are these?

But an existing law on the island, or at least that one community, prohibits the use of silencers. The deer kill was called off and it is believed that efforts are underway to change the law. What could possibly go wrong?<<<Read More>>>

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Revenue-Hungry Rhode Island Seeks 80% Tax on Lifesaving E-Cigarettes

Tobacco-Free E-Cigarettes Help Tobacco Smokers Quit; Taxing Them Like Tobacco Cigarettes Would Harm Smoking Cessation Efforts

As Rhode Island Goes, So Goes the Nation?

New York, NY/Washington DC – National Center Risk Analysis Division Director Jeff Stier is submitting testimony today to the Rhode Island legislature in opposition to a plan by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee to impose an 80% tax on e-cigarettes.

Chaffee believes that “electronic cigarette laws should mirror tobacco product laws.”

Stier says Chaffee’s policy would lead to unnecessary deaths.

“The Governor’s budget includes an 80% tax on the manufacturer’s price of e-cigarettes. This would have the effect of making the most commonly purchased e-cigarettes more expensive than real cigarettes. If this tax is included in the final budget, it may have the unintended consequence of discouraging smokers from switching to dramatically less harmful e-cigarettes.

He adds: “The consequence of fewer e-cigarette sales is a deadly one. The vast majority of those who purchase e-cigarettes are adult smokers trying to quit. So discouraging the use of e-cigarettes, the stated purpose of the excise tax, would actually incentivize smokers to continue smoking.”

“It is critical to note that e-cigarettes are attractive alternatives to cigarettes, in part because, like the FDA-approved gum and patch, they provide nicotine,” Stier continues. “Nicotine, while highly addictive, is not particularly harmful at the levels at which it is consumed. While nobody should initiate use of any nicotine products, be they pharmaceutical, e-cigarettes or certainly tobacco-burning cigarettes, legislators should know that it’s not the nicotine that makes cigarettes dangerous. It’s the burning tobacco that makes traditional cigarettes harmful to users and those exposed to the smoke. E-cigarettes contain no tobacco.”

Stier is suspicious of tax-supporters’ claims that taxing e-cigarettes is the best way to reduce their sale to minors. “If the Governor truly wanted to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, he would not have vetoed 2013 S 633 Substitute A last July,” Stier says. “That bill would have simply banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.”

Stier supports banning e-cigarette sales to minors.

Stier believes the proposed tax is a revenue-raising measure, but says the tax, if approved, is unlikely to raise revenue: “In Rhode Island, sin taxes are likely to lead to more out-of state sales, where there are no excise taxes on e-cigarettes. As such, the likely result of this e-cigarette tax would be lower revenue for the state, while yielding little or no impact on the use of e-cigarettes.”

A copy of Stier’s full written testimony is available here.

Stier’s testimony is being submitted in writing due to the weather-related cancellation of his formal testimony before the Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee today.

New York City-based Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division. Stier is a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. Stier’s National Center op-eds have been published in top outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, Newsday, Forbes, the Washington Examiner and National Review Online. He also frequently discusses risk issues on Twitter at @JeffaStier.

Stier has testified at FDA scientific meetings, met with members of Congress and their staff about science policy, met with OMB/OIRA officials, and has submitted testimony to state government legislative hearings. Most recently, he testified before the science committee of the New York City Council about that city’s ban on public use of e-cigarettes and submitted testimony to the Oklahoma legislature on the same matter.

Stier has testified about e-cigarette regulation before the New York City Council, submitted testimony to a joint committee of the Oklahoma legislature and has met with federal officials at the Office of Management and Budget and the Food and Drug Administration on the issue.

He’s written about the topic for the New York Post, the Huffington Post the Des Moines Register, and elsewhere.

Stier previously worked in both the office of the mayor and in the corporation counsel’s office during the Giuliani administration in New York City. His responsibilities included planning environmental agency programs, legal analysis of proposed legislation, and health policy. Mr. Stier also is chairman of the board of the Jewish International Connection, NY. While earning his law degree at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, he served two terms as editor-in-chief of the Cardozo Law Forum.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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