Why It Matters: With the creation of the Mississippi Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund and the subsequent $10 million appropriation from the State General Fund, Mississippi received additional dollars to further qualify for federal conservation programs to benefit fish and wildlife resources along with hunters and anglers. HB 999 would establish a consistent source of revenue for the Fund by dedicating sales tax on outdoor gear rather than have the Fund rely on annual appropriations made by the legislature.
- On February 1, 2023, HB 999, which would deposit a portion of sales tax revenue on certain outdoor sporting goods into the Mississippi Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund (Fund), passed the House of Representatives by a strong, bipartisan vote of 106-7.
- HB 999 was introduced by Mississippi Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus) Member Representative Bill Kinkade.
- The Fund was created last year through the passage of HB 606, which was championed by Caucus Member Representative Trey Lamar and co-sponsored by numerous other Caucus Members including Representative Bill Kinkade and Caucus Co-Chair and National Assembly of Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council Member Representative Scott Bounds.
- On February 2, HB 999 was transmitted to the Senate where it awaits Committee assignment.
Voters in Georgia took a similar step in 2018 when they approved a constitutional amendment to establish the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Fund, which dedicates up to 80% of the existing sales tax on outdoor recreation equipment to conservation, without raising taxes or creating any new fees. This dedicated source of conservation funding has provided $20 million per year for projects since its inception.
The millions of additional dollars that this new funding stream would further supplement the over $30 million that is generated by sportsmen and women in Mississippi each year through the “user pays – public benefits” structure known as the American System of Conservation Funding further benefitting fish and wildlife conservation initiatives in the state.
Creating a dedicated source of conservation funding has been a priority for the Caucus over the past several years, and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will continue to work alongside the Caucus and our in-state and national partners to bring a dedicated source of conservation funding to the Magnolia State by supporting HB 999.