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Firearms Excise Tax Improvement Act of 2010

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in support of H.R. 5552, the Firearms Excise Tax Improvement Act of 2010. It's a bill that I introduced with 54 bipartisan cosponsors, along with my friend and colleague from Wisconsin (Mr. Ryan), that will strengthen wildlife conservation funding in America by helping firearm and ammunition manufacturers grow their businesses.

H.R. 5552 changes the excise tax payment schedule for firearm and ammunition manufacturers from a biweekly reporting requirement to a quarterly schedule, like every other industry in the country. The bill would also allow the IRS to collect restitution debt that has been court ordered to be paid in criminal tax cases.

This commonsense legislation will allow for the creation of jobs for working families, save money for businesses, increase investment in wildlife conservation, and simplify and make consistent the payment of excise tax across all industries, all of which is paid for and fully compliant with pay-as-you-go budgeting rules.

There is very broad and bipartisan support from both sides of the aisle for this bill. This legislation is supported by every major conservation group, along with the firearms industry. It is in short a win-win-win for families, businesses, and conservation efforts across the country.

I have long been a supporter of conservation efforts. As a former cochair of the Congressional Sportsman's Caucus, I am pleased this bill benefits sportsmen and conservationists alike and continues to contribute critical funding for the development of wildlife restoration projects across the country, ensuring that our natural resources are protected for future generations.

I regularly enjoy spending time outdoors with my family, especially my two little boys. The ability to enjoy outdoor recreational activities like hunting and fishing are not only important for our peace of mind, but back home in Wisconsin it also contributes over $9.7 billion annually to the Wisconsin economy and supports 129,000 jobs, generating $570 million in annual State tax revenue. I am sure this is a story that we can talk about from State to State to State.

Also, 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.

Not only does the manufacture and sale of firearms and hunting supplies create jobs, but the industry also contributes to the economy as a whole. In fact, the 2010 firearms and ammunition industry was responsible for as much as $27.8 billion in total economic activity throughout the country.

The firearm and ammunition excise tax is the major revenue source for funding the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund, also known as the Pittman-Robertson Trust Fund. Last year, firearm and ammunition manufacturers contributed approximately $450 million to wildlife conservation through the excise tax payments.

All the industry is asking to do, Mr. Speaker, is change the biweekly reporting requirement of the excise tax to a quarterly reporting requirement, just like every other industry. There are stories that were brought to my attention that some of the smaller manufacturers actually had to take out loans in order to meet the biweekly excise tax requirement payment right now, which obviously interrupts their cash flow and makes it tough for them to reinvest in their businesses, expand their operations, and hire more people. We are just fixing that anomaly with this legislation.

I want to thank my friend, my colleague from Wisconsin, for his support for the legislation, as well as the chair and ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee and the staff for helping us get this legislation in order. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the various groups who provided invaluable feedback on this legislation, and in particular the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, the NRA, the Safari Club International, Ducks Unlimited, and many, many others.

I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I again want to thank my colleagues, Mr. Ryan and those on the Ways and Means Committee, for their strong support of the bill. It has received bipartisan support. I'm not aware of any opposition by any of my colleagues to this legislation.

There's a broad coalition of support outside Congress between the conservation and outdoor recreation community, along with the firearms industry, many people who do care about those opportunities that we enjoy as a shooting sport but also hunting, fishing, recreation.

This merely corrects, as my colleague pointed out, an anomaly that's existed in the Tax Code for too long. It's not fair to single out one industry for a biweekly reporting requirement when everyone else has a quarterly reporting requirement, and, quite frankly, cash flow problems have been an issue. That's the reason why it was brought to our attention. At a time when the economy is languishing, we need to be working with businesses, large and small, to be able to expand job-creating opportunities. This bill is a small step in achieving that.

So I would encourage my colleagues to support the bill.

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