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Voters weigh in on questions that impact outdoor recreation

The National Marine Manufacturers Association identified a number of ballot initiatives that would impact the outdoor recreational industry — primarily fishing and boating — during the recent midterm elections.

About 55 percent of California voters stood by the state’s gas tax increase, rejecting Proposition 6, which would have repealed the tax increase and made it more difficult to enact future tax increases, according to the NMMA. The gas tax increase benefits boating because a portion of the new tax revenue goes to the state Boating and Waterway division of the Parks and Recreation Department.

In Georgia, voters approved the creation of an “Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund” to protect water, wildlife, and parks. The constitutional amendment requires 80 percent of sales tax revenue collected from sporting goods stores in the state to be spent on land acquisition, improvements in hunting and fishing access, parks, trails, and water quality. The annual revenue is estimated to be $20 million.

The North Carolina constitution will be amended to guarantee the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife. Although these sports are not currently under direct threat, the NMMA said that 57 percent of voters supported preserving them into perpetuity, thus deflecting any future attempts to force restrictions. 

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