Starting in 2018, the Wildlife Management Institute began reporting on the quarterly excise tax receipts from Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs. These revenues provide the primary funding source for state fish and wildlife conservation programs as part of what is known as the American System of Conservation Funding. This “user pay – public benefit” system of funding is supported by hunters, recreational shooters, anglers, and boaters (the “users”) and provides public lands, fishing and boating access points, and healthy fish and wildlife populations for the benefit of all those who enjoy the outdoors (the “public”).
WMI’s reporting on these excise tax collections is part of a Multi-State Conservation Grant working to improve relationships between the state fish and wildlife agencies and the industries who contribute to the excise tax program. Revenue data comes through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as reported to them by the two collection agencies responsible for the WSFR programs – the Internal Revenue Service and the Tax and Trade Bureau.
Revenues for the first half of Federal Fiscal Year 2019 (October 1, 2018 thru March 31, 2019) have been reported, allowing comparisons of these collections to the previous year. For the Sport Fish Restoration Account, there has been a 9 percent increase in collections when compared to the same period last year. While a significant portion of the increases were related to interest earnings on the monies in the account, we did see some healthy increases in collections related to fishing equipment and fishing rods – which is good for the industry.
The collections for the Wildlife Restoration account during the first half of this fiscal year are showing a 4 percent reduction from the same period last year. While these numbers look better than last year, they still represent a decrease in funding available to state wildlife agencies for wildlife management projects. There were some minor increases in collections for the sale of firearms and bows. However, collections for the sale of ammunition and arrows saw 11 percent and 24 percent decreases, respectively.
The Sport Fish Restoration Account
Here are the comparisons of the collections for FY 2018 and FY 2019
Click link for chart