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Babbitt Proposes a Federal Tax for Wildlife Projects

September 17, 1996| Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. — Binoculars, birdseed, even hiking boots and canteens would be slapped with a federal tax to raise money for wildlife conservation under a plan outlined Monday by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.

The idea would be to raise money from bird watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts who do not pay the traditional fishing and hunting taxes.

Babbitt, at the International Assn. of Fish and Wildlife Agencies meeting here, said the money would be used strictly for education, recreation and conservation projects for more than 1,800 wildlife species not classified as endangered or game animals.

The idea is far from reality. Babbitt said he will present the proposal to President Clinton and Congress in the coming year. But the idea comes at a time when talk of cutting taxes is popular in Washington.

Babbitt's proposed tax would be 0.25% to 5% on the wholesale price of the product. Supporters said it could raise $350 million a year.

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