April 18, 2017 10:25 AM

State Sen. Barrow Peacock, R-Bossier City
Photo by William Taylor Potter

Several types of hunting equipment – including ATVs, apparel and accessories – may no longer be tax-free during the Annual Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Holiday if Senate Bill 22 passes the Louisiana Legislature.

And that’s just fine with a representative of the ATV dealerships in the state.

The proposed by Sen. Barrow Peacock, R-Bossier City, would eliminate the hunting equipment exemption for the tax-free weekend. Other supplies, such as guns, ammunition and archery supplies, would remain tax-free on that weekend. The bill passed through the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee on Monday.

William Young, owner of First Turn, a motorcycle and ATV dealer in Scott, spoke in favor of legislation. He said he has been a dealer for 43 years, and said his records for the last 11 years have not shown any increase in sales.

Instead, the weekend has compressed sales into one weekend, which forces the businesses to pay for more employees and overtime.

“It has created a lot of burden on the dealers,” Young said. “I would be in favor of it if we were getting increased sales…”

The Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee’s chairman Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans, remarked at how odd it was for a tax exemption beneficiary to argue against the exemption.

“This might be the first time ever we’re talking about eliminating an exemption, and the affected group is saying ‘please.’”

Young said there was a push to pass legislation last year, but it was killed because it included gun vendors, many of whom have had increased sales because of the weekend. He also said the weekend was tough on cities and the state, which need the revenue from local and state taxes.

Young also said the majority of his buyers would make the purchase anyway, even without the tax-free weekend. He said he buyers were wealthier and could likely afford the extra cost. Sen. Eddie Lambert, R-Gonzales, wasn’t so sure.

“I don’t know if I agree with that or not because I know there are a lot of people that are really being pushed when they have to buy something like this. I’m not so sure you wouldn’t be affected in the bottom line by people who would not be buying as many if we passed this.”

Sen. Jay Luneau, D-Alexandria, said he had spoken with several dealers in his area and found that most had a story similar to Young’s – sales didn’t go up, but costs did.

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