NOVEMBER 2019 TEXAS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
In November, a Texas constitutional amendment will appear on the ballot. A simple majority vote will appropriate the revenues from sales tax on sporting goods equipment to fund state parks and historical sites. Sen. Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham and Rep. John Cyrier of Bastrop, with the approval of Governor Abbott, led the Texas Legislature to pass bills calling for the constitutional vote. Between 1993 and 2017, the state’s sporting goods sales tax has generated between $60 million and $165 million annually for a total of $2.5 billion. During that time, only 40% percent of the funding found its way into the budgets of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or the Texas Historical Commission as intended. Many citizens incorrectly assume the taxes they pay on sporting goods were fully allocated to support parks, not realizing that significant portions of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax are diverted to other purposes. TPWD operates 95 parks and historical sites of its own around the state. The system covers more than 630,000 acres and attracts almost 10 million visitors annually. Its 2019 budget is $86 million, $60 million of which comes from its current share of the sporting goods sales tax. TPWD has been faced with many challenges and needed repairs as a result of severe weather and flooding over the past several years (in the last 10 years, TPWD has experienced more than $100 million in flood damage to park’s facilities around the state), in addition to the expenses required to routinely maintain Texas state parks. If approved, the amendment would authorize 94% of the revenue to TPWD’s parks and historical sites and 6% to sites under the Texas Historical Commission.
RECOVERING AMERICA’S WILDLIFE ACT: H.R. 3742
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act has been introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Dingell (D-MI-12) and Fortenberry (R-NE-01). This bipartisan legislation establishes a 21st Century funding model for the proactive conservation of fish and wildlife. This legislation redirects $1.3 billion annually in existing revenues to state fish and wildlife agencies to implement their science-driven wildlife action plans, and an additional $97.5 million to tribal wildlife managers to conserve species on tribal lands and waters. This funding will ensure those with a proven track record of success in species conservation and recovery can proactively conserve at-risk fish and wildlife in a voluntary, non-regulatory manner. For more information: https://houstonsafariclub.org/hsc-legislative-alert/.
MODERNIZING THE PITTMAN-ROBERTSON FUND FOR TOMORROW’S NEEDS ACT
Another very important bill has been reintroduced in the 116th Congress-the Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act. The Pittman-Robertson Act directs excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment to be used for wildlife conservation purposes. Since its origin in 1937, this legislation has contributed nearly $11.5 billion to wildlife conservation. This legislation would provide funding to state wildlife agencies for the recruitment, retention, and reactivation of hunters and recreational shooters (R3) through educational programs. For more information: http://congressionalsportsmen.org/policies/federal/modernizing-the-pittman-robertson-fund.
OPPOSE THE PASSAGE OF H.R. 2245: THE CONSERVING ECOSYSTEMS BY CEASING THE IMPORTATION OF LARGE ANIMALS TROPHIES ACT.
HSC was an original signer and has joined forces with 31 other conservation organizations to oppose this piece of legislation. This bill represents an ill-conceived attempt to substitute uninformed prejudices for the management strategies of the wildlife authorities successfully conserving the world’s largest populations of lions, elephants and other African species in their range countries. If implemented, H.R. 2245 would undermine some of the most effective strategies for conserving the world’s wildlife. Read the full letter HERE
Houston Safari Club (HSC) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization dedicated to legislative and policy initiatives that may affect the future of hunting. HSC supports initiatives that protect the tradition of hunting and hunters’ rights. We take an active role in efforts to effect policy, protocols and legislation. Our mission is to protect the rights of hunters and the hunting heritage through advocacy, policy and legislation. Houston Safari Club (HSC) is a non-proﬁt organization, exempt from federal income tax, under section 501(c)(4) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Payments to HSC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Please contact your tax advisor concerning deductibility of any payments as business deductions. HSC EIN: 76-0082197. HSC is an independent organization, is not affiliated with Safari Club International (SCI) or its affiliates and is not a chapter or affiliate of any other organization.