Rosendale tragically disconnected from Montana’s hunters and anglers – Daily Montanan

The excise tax has been around for over a century. In 1937, the Pittmann-Robertson Act returned these revenues to the states for habitat conservation, wildlife management, hunter and safety education, etc. Combined with a similar tax on fishing and boating equipment known as the Dingell-Johnson, these tiny taxes fund a large portion of the annual budget of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and have long were seen as a vital and secure source of revenue for the agency. .

It is highly doubtful that a single hunter or angler in Montana has contacted the Rosendale office to ask that the tax be removed, as the money is flowing back in improvements to our beloved traditional pursuits. In fact, he’s far more likely to hear most Montana residents who hunt and fish ask him why he supports legislation that provides a dodgy “solution” in search of a non-existent problem – and puts a hit of long-standing program to maintain and enhance the nation’s fish and wildlife at enormous risk.

But of course, funding Montana’s fisheries and wildlife management had nothing to do with Rosendale’s motivation to sign such outlandish legislation. “Taxing a constitutional right” does not hold water either. If Rosendale had ever bothered to read the U.S. Constitution, he might have noticed Article 8, which clearly reads: “Congress shall have power to lay and collect imposts, duties, imposts and excise duties, to pay debts and to provide for the common defence. and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, taxes and excise will be uniform throughout the United States. »

There is no exemption for “taxing constitutional rights” as Rosendale claims and indeed if our right to property should not be taxed either – or anything else we have need or desire “to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity”. as guaranteed by the Constitution.

No, this is strictly a very bad “theater of the absurd” in reaction to the nation’s horror for the ongoing mass shootings, the massacre of school children and the endless murders committed by individuals deranged in a society awash with firearms – including those primarily adapted from military-grade weapons of war. With no accomplishments in Congress, Rosendale jumped into the clown car with those seeking self-recognition while making a bad situation even worse.

Rosendale “really stepped in” this time by co-sponsoring such ridiculous and hugely unpopular legislation. Notably, not a single hunting or fishing organization expressed support for his decision. And in a state that treasures its hunting and fishing traditions, it shows how completely and tragically out of touch Rosendale is with the real priorities of the Montanans.

George Ochenski is a longtime Helena resident, environmental activist, and Montana’s longest-serving columnist.

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