“I can think of about 20 million reasons not to support this bill,” said lifelong hunter and fisherman James Thornhill of Jackson. “Most of those would be in dollars but the main problem is that it’s nuts. If this thing passes, all the money I’ve paid into the federal programs with the equipment I buy and the money I spend going hunting and fishing will go to another state, and then I will obviously be taxed even higher to offset the loss of all funding to the state wildlife agency.
“The idea of that rankles me. Nobody likes paying taxes and nobody likes paying license fees, but anybody who knows anything about wildlife and fisheries funding knows that we need to pay it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard hunting, fishing or conservation groups proudly say ‘we pay our own way.’ It’s a banner we all like to wave. Basically, if you don’t fish, don’t hunt or don’t boat, you don’t pay a dime to support those activities.” Randy Parks of Brandon said his concern is that he will continue to pay the federal excise tax in the future without any of the benefits.
“That is a ridiculous proposal,” he said. “Are they wanting me to pay taxes that do not benefit me? No. That’s wrong. That’s stupid. That’s going to make a lot of people mad once they learn that’s happening. “I can understand wanting to lessen the burden on citizens, but this does not do it because the wildlife agency is going to be funded by other means, and where will that money come from? Taxes. At least through license sales, the money is earmarked for wildlife and fisheries programs and can’t be used for anything else. We know our programs will be funded.”