Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), active member and past co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus and senior member of the House Natural Resources and Ways and Means Committees, today voted to strengthen wildlife conservation funding in America by helping firearm and ammunition manufacturers grow their businesses in the bipartisan Firearms Excise Tax Improvement Act of 2010, H.R. 5552, legislation he authored. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, 412-6.
"I'm proud to have authored and the House to have passed this important legislation to allow for the creation of jobs for working families, save money for business, increase investment in wildlife conservation, and simplify and make consistent the payment of excise tax across industries--all of which is paid for and fully compliant with pay-as-you-go budgeting rules."
The Firearms Excise Tax Improvement Act changes the excise tax payment schedule for firearm and ammunition manufacturers from a bi-weekly to a quarterly schedule. The current frequency of tax payments for the firearm and ammunition manufacturers represents a burden on the industry. In fact, some manufacturers are forced to secure short-term loans to pay their taxes, thus incurring additional expenses and adding to administrative overhead. The end result is that money is diverted away from core business areas to finance tax payments.
Switching to a quarterly excise tax payment system would allow manufacturers to reinvest funds into researching and developing new products, purchasing new manufacturing machinery, and increasing marketing and outreach to the hunting and sport shooting community. Selling more products also would increase federal excise tax (FET) revenue and, ultimately, the flow of dollars into the Pittman Robertson Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund, which authorizes the development of wildlife restoration projects across the country.
"The bill is a commonsense fix that will do a lot to support sport-shooting in America," said Rep. Kind. "By making a simple schedule change we can free up more capital to reinvest in the development of new products. The best part about this is that by supporting the expansion of hunting and sport-shooting, we will in turn create additional revenue to conserve the natural areas that are so important to sportsmen and women in this country."
Outdoor recreation activities like hunting and fishing in Wisconsin contribute over $9.7 billion annually to Wisconsin's economy and supports 129,000 jobs, generating $570 million in annual state tax revenue. Companies in Wisconsin that manufacture, distribute and sell firearms, ammunition and hunting equipment employ as many as 2,050 people in the state and generate an additional 2,300 jobs in supplier and ancillary industries. Across the nation, these companies employ as many as 183,000 people.
"Today is a major victory for firearms and ammunition manufacturers who will now be treated equally under the U.S. tax code and as a result will be able to reinvest funds into researching and developing new products, purchasing new manufacturing machinery, and creating jobs," said Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation President Jeff Crane. "This legislation will also help to continue funding major conservation efforts throughout the nation via the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund."
"This bill will strengthen wildlife conservation funding in America by helping manufacturers to grow their businesses," said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. "We are thankful for the tremendous support and leadership of Congressman Kind, who sponsored this bill."
The Firearms Excise Tax Improvement Act is supported by the entire firearms industry including the National Rifle Association supports this legislation, as well as all major conservation groups, including the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, North American Wetlands Conservation Council, and Pheasants Forever. The bill is also fully supported by the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service.