The 2015 Legislature has been having hearings on Timber Tax bills including HB 3481. The idea behind HB 3481 is to tax timber to help pay for wildfires. It is almost like taxing concrete to pay for earthquake damage. It is even more unbalanced when it is considered that harvesting timber helps to reduce forest fires by removing forest fuel and aging timber more at risk for catastrophic wildfires. This insanity can be shown in the nearby infographic where Oregon suffers from a recycle of death of lawsuits, wildfires and taxes.
The Legislature is looking for $30 million, and cannot seem to find it within their near $60 billion budget or their billion dollar increase in new revenue. During testimony it appeared that the timber tax supporters had changing targets and reasons behind the tax. This makes the tax seem uneccessary and capricous which are the hallmarks of bad legislation. Bill watchers say that this bill may even be illegal on how it plans to be implemented.
House Bill 3481 sets a tax rate at $20 dollars per thousand board feet (MBF) on timber that is harvested in Oregon which will cost timber produces and buyers dearly. When you forcibly increase the cost of goods you drive up prices and higher prices can lead to less jobs and less middle class purchasing power.
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