84(R) - 2015
Hunting and Fishing
Relating to an exemption from the sales tax for firearms and hunting supplies for a limited period.
A fiscal note dated April 22, 2015 anticipates a two-year negative net impact to General Revenue Related Funds for CSSB 228 of $11,120,000 through the biennium ending August 31, 2017.
Senate Bill 228 would create two tax-free weekends for the firearms and hunting supplies listed in the bill. Those supplies would be exempt from the sales and use tax when bought during one of the following periods: 1) beginning at 12:01 a.m. on the Saturday of the last full weekend in August and ending at 12 midnight on the following Sunday, 2) beginning at 12:01 a.m. on the Saturday of the last full weekend in October and ending at 12 midnight on the following Sunday.
Vote Recommendation Notes
Senate Bill 228 would exempt from the sales and use tax firearms and hunting supplies (ammunition, archery equipment, hunting blinds and stands, hunting decoys, firearm cleaning supplies, gun cases and gun safes, hunting optics, and hunting safety equipment) during the last full weekends of August and October.
According to the statement of intent, Senate Bill 228 aims at countering an existing sales tax holiday for individual purchases of firearms, ammunition, and hunting supplies during the first full weekend of September in Louisiana. By placing one of the two tax-free weekend on the last full weekend of August, the statement of intent argues that this will give an advantage to Texas retailers and hunters because it would be before the Louisiana tax holiday.
The problem with government-created "advantages," even when well intentioned, is that they more often than not come with unintended consequences by distorting the market. Not only do they favor a category of products or businesses over others, consumers are not actually guaranteed savings under these tax holiday schemes. There is nothing preventing merchants from raising prices by the amount that would have been reduced at the register through the tax break. Furthermore, prices can rise due to supply and demand issues created when people rush to purchase tax-exempt goods. Either or both of these factors can lead to consumers actually paying more than they would have if the government had avoided tinkering in the marketplace to begin with.
Generally low taxes during the whole year encourage people to choose the best time for them, anytime during the year, to save and possibly buy more of any kind of supplies they need. As a consequence, we cannot support Senate Bill 228.