SENATE JOINT MEMORIAL 8025
State of Washington 55th Legislature 1998 Regular Session
By Senators Jacobsen, Oke, Fraser, Kline, Spanel and Rasmussen
Read first time 01/26/98. Referred to Committee on Natural Resources & Parks.
TO THE HONORABLE WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED:
We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:
WHEREAS, Washington state is home to a large and diverse array of fish and wildlife habitats and species, all of which require by law some level of protection and management by the department of fish and wildlife and other local, state, and federal agencies; and
WHEREAS, A large majority of Washington's residents and visitors actively pursue and enjoy the state's diverse fish and wildlife resources. For example, seventy-five percent of those who responded to a 1996 opinion survey commissioned by the department of fish and wildlife said that observing and learning about songbirds and other nongame wildlife species is an important part of their lives; and
WHEREAS, Wildlife recreation is an important part of the state's economy. For example, a 1991 survey conducted by the United States fish and wildlife service showed that wildlife recreation accounted for more than three hundred fifty million dollars in annual retail sales, one hundred fifty million dollars in wages and salaries, and almost eight thousand jobs in Washington; and
WHEREAS, The federal Pittman-Robertson and Wallop-Breaux funds, administered by the United States fish and wildlife service, have been highly successful in helping Washington and other states protect sportfish and wildlife resources for many years. Pittman-Robertson and Wallop-Breaux funds accrue from small federal excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, fishing tackle, motor boats, and motor boat fuel; and
WHEREAS, A similar and proposed federal excise tax on selected outdoor-related products, including binoculars, field guides, tents, and canoes would generate a new dedicated trust fund for state-level fish and wildlife conservation, recreation, and education programs. If passed, this new fund would provide a "third leg" to the Pittman-Robertson and Wallop-Breaux federal aid funds which could generate three hundred fifty million dollars per year nationally; and
WHEREAS, An estimated eight to ten million dollars of these federal matching funds would accrue to the department of fish and wildlife each year and would be used to address the critical needs of nongame wildlife species, as well as the recreational and educational needs of Washington residents and visitors, especially those who enjoy observing and learning about our state's diverse fish and wildlife resources. Up to forty percent of Washington's share of the Teaming With Wildlife funds would be made available to the state parks and recreation commission, other state and local agencies, and conservation groups for approved wildlife recreation, education and conservation projects;
NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully pray that Congress pass legislation proposed by the national Fish and Wildlife Diversity Initiative, or Teaming With Wildlife campaign, to create a new dedicated trust fund for state-level fish and wildlife management, which would be administered by the United States fish and wildlife service.
BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to the Honorable William J. Clinton, President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each member of Congress from the State of Washington.
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