HB 2598 Imposes severance tax on all timber harvested

Died In Committee on 06/26/2021
Status (overview) of bill: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Measures/Overview/HB2598
Committee assigned to bill: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Committees/HAGNR/Overview

This bill imposes a severance tax on all timber harvested from public and private forestland. Redirects revenues from certain forest products harvest taxes. Repeals exclusion and exceptions.

Fiscal Responsibility
Department of Revenue shall determine biannually the value of timber at the time of harvest. Provides lower rates for older stands of trees. Creates Timber Tax Fund to pay Revenue’s administrative expenses and 70% to counties, 20% General Fund, 5% Emergency Fire Cost Committee, and 5% to Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board

Limited Government
This looks like revenge on the forest industry repealing all the negotiated provisions. Repeals exclusion for first 25,000 feet, board measure. Repeals exemptions for environmentally sensitive logging equipment and forest roads. Repeals special assessment for homesites on forestland. Increases minimum acreage of forestland eligible for small tract forestland status. Phases out small tract forestland with tax increases over three years. Increases penalties for noncompliance with Oregon Forest Practices Act.

Local Control
The severance tax is imposed based on the method of harvesting or an alternative method allowed by the Department of Revenue. Tax is based on volume total price paid for the timber less the costs of transporting the timber to a mill; and the net total price paid for the timber per foot, board measure, and per acre.

Free Markets
The forest industry is trying to make a comeback but another tax and eliminating exceptions will halt the progress. It does increase to 60 acres and less than 5,000 acres for small tract forestland.

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