Kitzhaber & Legislature on timber bills

by Rex Storm,
Forest Policy Manager
Associated Oregon Loggers

“No” to Rural Jobs: Oregon Governor Kitzhaber said he supported a jobs package in the 2012 legislature that included natural resource utilization—but he covertly fought against those same bills that would achieve what he claimed to support. The Governor flatly rejected two “jobs bills” (HB.4098 & HB 4101) that would have created thousands of new timber and agriculture jobs, increased private sector revenue, and added millions in state income taxes. Kitzhaber said he would instead urge Congress to increase logging on federal lands. We’re still waiting.

Governor: Economy His Other Priority: Having passed his proposed overhauls of education and health care in the last two legislative sessions, Governor John Kitzhaber in March said he hasn’t forgotten about his “other priority, the economy.” The Gov. in February named his three economic initiatives for the coming two years: 1) hire an state federal forest liaison person to begin untangling the federal forest debacle; 2) expand his “Cool Schools Program,” to remodel more schools for energy-efficiency; and 3) begin building the I-5 Columbia River bridge at Portland.

New Law Injects Forestry Higher Ed: The Oregon Legislature passed a bill to invest new funding and input into the Oregon State University College of Forestry. House Bill 4002 establishes a new funding mechanism for forestry higher education, and creates a forest education council to help direst college education programs for professional foresters and forest engineers. This bill strengthens the public-private partnership to assure curriculum meets needs of Oregon’s forest sector. The bill allocates no money; rather it authorizes funding through future forest harvest taxes and contributions.

Oregon Job Creation Bills Rejected by Democrats: Four goals for the short February Oregon legislative session were: rebalance the state budget, overhaul education and health care, and spur Oregon’s economy. Although legislators cooperated to achieve the first three goals, the Democrat-majority Oregon Senate derailed every Republican effort to move job-creating bills…

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