Hunters and wildlife conservationists, judges and liquor-industry representatives all told a House subcommittee yesterday that they all want the same thing out of life - favorable tax legislation.
They appeared in a steady stream before the House Subcommittee on Miscellaneous Revenue Measures to speak in favor of 21 bills designed to create special exceptions in the tax laws - presumably to increase fairness.
The bills are mostly minor - "piddling loopholes," as one congressional staffer described them. But to the dozens of witnesses who appeared before the subcommittee to present their case, the minor bills have major financial importance.
Take H.R. 3633, Briefly, the bill would impose an 11 per cent excise tax on the sale of "component" ammunition parts - catridge cases, primers, percussion caps, and other parts used mostly by persons who band-load ammunition for pistols and revolvers used in target shooting.
Some members of the subcommittee thought it odd that witnesses would testify in favor of a tax. But the half-dozen witnesses pointed out that under the bill, the proceeds of the tax would all go to "hunter education programs" and "wildlife restoration projects." "H.R. 3633 will not create an additional expense for the federal government," said Daniel A. Poole, president of the Wildlife Management Institute because it would be a tax paid by gun users to promote their own hobby.
"There is a growing desire within sportsmen's ranks and within state wildlife agencies to improve the sport of hunting as much as possible . . . H.R. 3633 will help speed and facilitate that task," Poole said.
Other speakers noted that an existing federal program - supported by excise taxes on sporting arms - has contributed $776 million to wildlife programs since its inception in 1937. More money is needed, they said.
Another witness yesterday was Abraham Turnick a representative of 10 liquor-industry asociations, who went before the subcommittee to ask for favorable action on H.R. 1920.
That measure would require the Treasury Department to reimburse wholesalers of "distilled spirits" for prepaid taxes on products stolen or destroyed by "vandalism or malicious mischief."
Present law provides for liquor wholesale tax reimbursement only on products destroyed in a presidentially declared emergency.
The Treasury opposes H.R. 1920 on grounds that it would put the federal government in the liquor insurance business.
But. Tunick argued, H.R. 1920 asks for no more than "a reasonable and logical extension" of the kind of aid rendered in presidentially declared disasters - which is, he said, a kind of insurance.
Still another of the day's petitioners was Chief Judge C. Moxley Featherston of the United States Tax Court, who said he spoke on behalf of the judges in his court "regarding H.R. 8811."
Under present law, U.S. Tax Court judges choosing to come under the Tax Court retirement system are barred from receiving any Civil Service benefits. The law applies even to judges who earned Civil Service benefits before joining the Tax Court and those who earn them after leaving the court.
Featherston, told the panel yesterday that the law is unfair because it creates "economic conditions which are such as to stand in the way of a judge accepting . . . a (higher) position "that may fall under Civil Service jurisdiction.
He urged the committee adopt H.R. 3811, which would allow the judges to keep Civil Service benefits under certain conditions. Under the present statute, he said, the public, as well as the judges, come up losers because the judges are hesitant to move on to new jobs.