Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Birdseed tax to help wildlife habitat?

Can a 10 percent tax on birdseed raise enough money to save sizable habitat for birds and the birders who enjoy watching/finding them?

A recent article in Sherwood Gazette in Oregon discusses House Bill 3303, recently withdrawn but still considered a viable option by Rep. Chris Garrett and Scott Lukens, owner of multiple Backyard Bird Shops and former board member of Audubon Society of Portland.

More than 50 percent of Lukens’ sales come from birdseed, and he figures the tax would raise $150,000 from those sales alone.

Lukens realizes that without birds he wouldn’t have a business. “Birds don’t just stay in my back yard. They move around. We need to think about their habitat. We need to think about our children and their children,” he says.
What do you think? Would you pay more to feed the birds on your property if it meant that the birds also could find hospitable habitat away from your property?

The article raises the habitat contributions by hunters and fishermen.

Money derived from hunting and fishing licenses provides the bulk of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s budget. Yet 88 percent of the species the agency is charged with protecting are non-game critters.

“Less than 2 percent of the ODFW budget goes to those species,” Sallinger says. “Hunters and anglers have said for years they were contributing more than their fair share of the budget and they have a point.”

Sallinger began to wonder why birders weren’t “putting their money where their binoculars were,” especially at a time when bird populations are declining.
Many birders think likewise. What do you think?



Blogger John said...

I wouldn't object to a bird seed tax, as long as the revenue was going directly into a dedicated conservation fund analogous to duck stamps, and not into general revenue. It would have the benefit of being targeted at as broad a base of bird lovers as possible. The trick would be to get it high enough to raise sufficient revenue but not so high as to discourage seed sales.

June 23, 2009 6:12 PM  
Blogger wolf21m said...

It would have my support if it was an efficient program that was focused on results. Here in Idaho some of the "conservation" funds that collect money (i.e. license plates) end up being redirected to questionable conservation measures - killing coyotes to preserve habitats instead of rebuilding the natural ecosystem. I also expect the Fish and Game then allocate less of their resources to the area receiving separate funding. Thus, I think a focused tax must have focused incremental results.

June 24, 2009 11:55 AM  

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