The Michigan Conservation and Recreation Legacy Fund is a dedicated fund created by voters in 2006. If State Rep. Joel Sheltrown (D-West Branch), chairman of the state House Natural Resources Committee, has his way, 17% of state sales tax on certain sporting goods would go into this fund.
This move would replace revenue from increasing hunting and fishing licenses, and increasing state campground fees.
The bill is currently being reviewed by the House Tax Policy Committee. Sheltrown introduced (HB) 5629 on Thursday, Jan. 17.
The Recreation Legacy Fund supports state parks, state forest campgrounds, hunting and fishing programs, and off-road vehicle and waterway programs.
"The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimates that $3.3 billion is spent annually on sporting goods in Michigan, contributing $100 to $200 million dollars in sales tax revenue," Sheltrown said. "The (bill) would contribute over $20 million in revenue to conservation programs in Michigan, eliminating projected (DNR) shortfalls and allowing (Michigan) to invest for future recreation expenses."
Discussion of the bill seems to be shaping up with those in rural areas with many DNR managed properties thinking it's a good idea, and those in more developed areas frowning on earmarked funds.
Sheltrown countered,"We always have these complaints with the DNR that the kayakers and the hikers, etc., don't spend any money to support some of these activities, and that the hunters and fishermen are handling the brunt of protecting natural resources. This is one way to spread that burden out further, without raising fees."
read the full article in the Spinal Column, "Dedication of tax on sale of sporting goods proposed", by Stephanie Schneider, Jan 23, 2008
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