As ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources on April 18, 2018
H.R. 788 would allow states to use grants awarded under the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to fund up to 90 percent of the cost of building or operating public target ranges. Under that act, half of all federal excise taxes collected on pistols, revolvers, bows, arrows, and archery accessories are apportioned to states as grants for hunter education programs and for the construction and development of target ranges. Current awards can be used to cover 75 percent of the programs’ costs.
The bill also would allow states to retain their shares of Pittman-Robertson funds for up to five years to acquire or construct target ranges. After five years, those funds would be reapportioned for other uses by the Secretary of the Interior. Under current law, any such funds that are not spent within two years are reapportioned and spent on other activities. Neither of those provisions would affect the total amount of funds that could be spent but could have a minor effect on the timing of when those funds are spent. On that basis, CBO estimates that enacting those provisions would have no significant effect on direct spending.
Finally, H.R. 788 would limit the federal government’s liability for certain incidents that occur on target ranges that are either constructed with Pittman-Robertson funds or located on federal lands. Previous federal payments resulting from such lawsuits have been minimal, and on that basis CBO estimates that enacting this provision would reduce direct spending by an insignificant amount over the 2019-2028 period.
Because enacting H.R. 788 could affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that those effects would be insignificant. Enacting H.R. 788 would not affect revenues.
CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 788 would not significantly increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
H.R. 788 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).
H.R. 788 would impose a private-sector mandate as defined in UMRA by eliminating an existing right to seek compensation from the federal government for damages occurring at a public target range supported by federal funds. The cost of the mandate would be the forgone value of awards and settlements in such claims. Information from the Department of the Interior indicates that few, if any, such lawsuits have been brought against the government. Because such claims would probably be uncommon, CBO estimates that the cost of the mandate would be small and would fall well below the annual threshold established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($160 million in 2018, adjusted annually for inflation).