Advocacy group targets awareness of hunting benefits to Illinois
A new group is working to raise awareness of hunting’s $2.2 billion annual impact on the state’s economy and contributions to conservation efforts through hunting equipment sales tax.
According to Hunting Works For Illinois, hunters pay $158 million annually in state and local taxes.
“Hunters not only support jobs and the economy, but the money hunters spend on their licenses and stamps, as well as the taxes they pay on equipment, is all earmarked for conservation,” Brittany Henry, executive director of the Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau and one of the group's co-chairs, said in a press conference recently.
Some of the tax dollars come from $235 million in hunting-related equipment sales, including firearms, ammunition, fishing poles and hunting bows. The group said the average Illinois hunter spends $2,400 annually.
Hunters are also one of the state’s largest contributors to conservation efforts through an excise tax on equipment sales that is designated for habitat preservation. The Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937 enacted an 11 percent excise tax on hunting equipment sales that goes toward conservation efforts.
Hunting Works For Illinois is made up of 50 partner organizations that cover a broad range of industries that directly or indirectly benefit from hunting.
“We want to spread a message of the economic impact on our state and local economies,” Mark Denzler, chief operating officer of the Illinois Manufacturers Association and another co-chair, said.
Illinois is the 16th state to implement a Hunting Works organization. The Illinois group emphasized it does not have a policy agenda but rather is solely designed to educate the public as well as legislators about the economic impact of hunting.