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Friday, January 28, 2011 - 11:55am

Wildlife Group Opposes New Tag Fees

Updated: 3 years ago.
Under a new law $10 of the $35 it costs for this tag, featuring a hummingbird, goes toward funding the non-game conservation program of the Department of Natural Resources. (Image courtesy DNR)

For nearly 15 years the sale of special license plates has helped the department of natural resources fund its non-game programs.

That includes a variety of land and wildlife conservation efforts that don’t get money from the state or from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses.

Until now the plates cost $25 on top of the standard tag fee, with the majority going to the DNR.

But a law that went into effect last May adds a $35 annual fee to all vanity plates including ones that help fund the agency.

Most of the new fee goes straight into the state’s coffers with only 10 dollars going towards the wildlife programs.

Georgia Wildlife Federation president Jerry McCollum says, to many, that feels like a slap in the face.

"We’re being asked to make a $22 voluntary contribution to the general fund which is just another way of saying it’s a $22 addition to my annual tax bill," says McCollum.

He says the GWF is asking the general assembly to either roll back the fee for wildlife tags or to give the DNR a larger cut.

DNR officials say the sale of new plates has dropped 71 percent since the new fee was added.