We think this proposed legislation is bad for our members. This letter was sent to all 12 NJ Members of Congress
I am writing to you on behalf of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA) which represents 1.2 million outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen. Our mission as a grassroots coalition is to champion the intrinsic value of natural resource conservation – including fishing, hunting and trapping, among opinion leaders and policy makers. We support legislation, and those sponsoring legislation, that provide lasting ecological and social enrichment through sustainable use of the earth’s resources.
NJOA is aware of the introduction of HR 8167, a bill introduced in the House of Representatives that removes the self-imposed excise tax on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment that funds the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act.
Since 1937 Pittman-Robertson Act has provided for a “user pays-public benefits” system of funding and directs an excise tax on the sale of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. It is a primary funding source for state fish and wildlife agencies, which use the funds to undertake wildlife conservation, provide for hunter safety and hunter and recreational shooter recruitment, public shooting range construction and other activities. Last year alone, these excise taxes generated more than $1.5 billion in funding to assist state wildlife agencies in fulfilling their missions and provided $11.4 million to New Jersey.
These user-supported excise taxes, combined with millions in funding generated annually through the purchase of hunting licenses and stamps, demonstrates the long-standing commitment of members of the sporting-conservation community to personally invest in science-based conservation and wildlife management. As I’m sure you are aware, this user-pay system has resulted in the most successful system for managing wildlife on earth and is the envy of the world.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Changing the source of wildlife management funding by relying on alternative sources is unnecessary. It could negatively impact state wildlife agencies and diminish the sporting-conservation community’s relationship with state fish and wildlife agencies. Without the financial contributions of sportsmen and women and sporting manufacturers, New Jersey’s great wildlife resource will suffer from the loss of these funds which we gladly pay.
Therefore, NJOA urges you not to support this legislation and to help deliver the message to your colleagues in Congress that while HR 8167, though may be well-meaning, is unnecessary and does not have the support of the conservation groups we represent. These sportsmen and women eagerly support wildlife conservation and management through the self-imposed excise tax as adopted by the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937.
Thank you for allowing us to express our thoughts on this legislation.