WMI Contracts with Mitch King on Agency, Industry Relations

WMI Contracts with Mitch King on Agency, Industry Relations

The Wildlife Management Institute has contracted with Mitch King to assist Jon Gassett in strengthening relationships between state wildlife agencies, hunting and fishing non-governmental organizations, and the various hunting, recreational shooting, fishing and boating industries. Mitch will focus his efforts on issues related to the excise taxes that make up a large part of the funding foundation of the North American Model for Wildlife Conservation.

image of Mitch King

It is important that fish and wildlife agencies (from the director to the biologist in the field) understand where their funding originates. Likewise, it is important that the manufacturers of taxable products (and retailers) that are part of this funding story understand where their tax dollars are going. To this end, Mitch will be taking every opportunity to ensure that the excise tax payments made by industry that ultimately make their way into the budgets of state fish and wildlife agencies are “front of mind” to the state agencies and related organizations.

In 2016, industry contributed $800,036,804 in excise taxes into the Wildlife Restoration Fund and $627,740,540 in excise taxes and import duties into the Sportfish and Boating Trust Fund. These funds pay a significant portion of: 1) the salaries of just about everyone in the state agency; 2) the cost of biological research performed on behalf of the agencies; 3) the acquisition of key fish and wildlife habitats; 4) the maintenance of hunter and angler access points; 5) the list can go on forever. The next time you wander into a gun shop, an archery shop, or a bait shop and they are busy – be thankful. If they are not busy, we all should worry.

From an industry perspective, it is just as important for them to understand what this tax is all about. Mitch will be taking advantage of every opportunity to get in front of the taxpaying industry to better explain where their tax dollars are going. With just a few exceptions, the tax is 11% for firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment; 10% for pistols and fishing tackle; and a lesser percentage for tackle boxes and trolling motors. The profit margins for most of these companies is well under 3%. It has been said by CEOs of archery and fishing tackle companies that the state fish and wildlife agencies make more off of their product than the CEO. The tax check they write is only topped in amount by their salary payments and the cost of supplies. It is critical that they fully understand and appreciate where these tax dollars go and how they are being used to grow hunting and fishing.

Stay tuned for periodic updates from Mitch. As a “take home” – take a look at the following pie charts that display where the nearly $1.43 billion in 2016 excise tax dollars came from.

2016 Trust Funds Collection Chart


2016 Wildlife Restoration Fund Collections


May 15, 2017