Monday, March 16, 2009

Oregon Birdseed Levy

This just in from editor, Mitch Whitten:

Oregon would levy a 10 percent tax on backyard birdseed to help fund a state conservation fund if a new bill becomes law.

The tax would be applied to wholesale prices and could begin as early as January 1, 2010, according to the text of House Bill 3303. Defining the target of the tax, the law states that “‘birdseed’ means any mix of seeds designed to be fed to wild birds, including millet, milo, sunflower and thistle seeds.”

Funds raised by the tax on birdseed would support the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Conservation Strategy, “a blueprint and action plan for the long-term conservation of Oregon’s native fish and wildlife and their habitats through a non-regulatory, statewide approach to conservation,” according to the department’s website.

“[The Strategy] was developed by ODFW with the help of a diverse coalition of Oregonians including scientists, conservation groups, landowners, extension services, anglers, hunters, and representatives from agriculture, forestry and rangelands,” the website says.

One of the tax bill’s chief sponsors is State Representative Chris Garrett, a democrat elected last year from Lake Oswego, an affluent community south of Portland. According to his website, he has also proposed bills to “address algae outbreaks in Oregon rivers, and develop new mechanisms for ecosystem protection.”

The proposed Oregon birdseed tax is reminiscent of a similar episode from the late 1990s. Then, wild bird feeding industry leaders were concerned about the possibility of a national tax on birdseed.

A coalition of nature products leaders, including Swarovski, Commercial Packaging and Perky Pet, helped to avoid such a tax by forming the Migratory Bird Conservancy, a non-profit designed to raise funds to purchase and protect birding habitat. The MBC became defunct several years ago, however, for lack of support.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

It is estimated that cats kill an estimated 100 million birds every year in the US. Unlike their wild counterparts domestic cats do not kill for food, but rather for sport. As a non-native species they have no natural predators and have the added advantage of being sheltered and fed by their owners. All varieties of birds are prey from common to rare and endangered species. Perhaps cat owners will be more circumspect if they understand that there is a price to be paid for not being more responsible about controlling the activities of their pets.