Skip to comments.Tax increases, more logging proposed to rescue counties
Posted on 06/24/2008 8:37:39 PM PDT by george76
With two-thirds of Oregon county governments, including Lane County, facing financial crises, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski on Monday urged residents to accept modest local property tax increases and more logging on federal forests to help stave off deep cuts in county law enforcement and other critical services.
Those steps are just two of 54 recommendations in a task force report delivered to the governor on Monday. Kulongoski commissioned the report last year to address the imminent loss of about $238 million in annual federal timber payments, including $47 million a year to Lane County.
The top recommendation was for Oregon to press Congress and President Bush to keep the subsidies coming for four years or more to give counties time to develop solutions. However, Congress and the White House are increasingly resistant to prolonging the nationwide timber-county aid program, given other demands on the federal budget.
Many counties already are cutting back services in order to absorb the federal revenue reductions. Lane County government in the past couple of months has eliminated scores of jobs, mostly in public safety, and scaled back a range of safety services, including jail beds.
The report lays out a mix of steps to help plug the budget gap. Raising property taxes dedicated to county government by 10 percent to 30 percent and accepting a healthy forests thinning plan aimed at reducing wildfire threats could cover more than half the gap...
(Excerpt) Read more at registerguard.com ...
Raising property taxes or ...?
It’s always a “revenue problem” with these people, never a spending one.
Gee...Just think how good a shape Oregon might be in if it hadn’t spent a few decades basing its economy on the rantings of environmental doomsters.
I would think the Oregonians would salivate at the prospect of higher taxes.
Cut taxes and cut the timber — and the economy will grow itself.
They salivate at the prospect of more spending. Higher taxes . . . only if imposed on someone else.
That’s the Liberal American way.
I use to live up there. The idiots stopped most logging and now they’re complaining? Bunch of liberal fools. If they cut off all the spending for six months and let the lumber mills start up again, they would be just fine.
Environmentalism only works up til lib money becomes short, then it's thrown over for Capitalism???
Have I got that right?
As I understand it the feds have been subsidizing lost revenues to countys in OR as they’ve lost more and more payments from timber cutting.
This is one more result of the whack job ebviros and their campaign for the spotted owl.
It’s been an ongoing problem for the counties and they haven’t done much to solve it. They’re going to have to because the feds aren’t going to pay forever.
The federal timber payments have long been a major source of money for many Oregon counties. For decades, the payments were based on the amount of logging in federal forests.
But when logging declined, the payments also began to drop. Congress replaced them with safety-net money based on past logging receipts
Increase property taxes and more logging. One of these will happen, the other will not. Guess which one.
The eco have banned fishing, logging, mining, hunting...not much left ?
Sell the land to timber companies. Problem solved.
What are they going to do with the timber after they cut it? The mills that have shut down did so because of market conditions not environmental concerns. Houses aren’t being built so lumber isn’t being consumed. Mills have to pay for logs in 14 days. No one has pockets that deep.
Not quite that simple. Most Timber companies already own land. They are not even allowed to cut on much of the land they own.
I’ve really gone down the tube on the Oregon pings. Does anyone want to take it over?
Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Oregon Ping List.
Living in Eugene, I Can’t even cut a limb off a tree in front of my own home. The good people of Eugene and Portland have killed the timber industry and shut down most of the mills and now they would like to drive the city dwellers from their homes with higher taxes.
Canada's unfair lumber subsidies have for decades harmed the U.S. lumber industry, threatening its workers with mounting unemployment, and denying many tree farmers a market for their timber crops. The impact of these subsidies is apparent everywhere. To learn more about Canada's lumber subsidies, and how to restore fair and free lumber trade between the two countries, see the other pages of this website. You'll see why even many Canadians agree that Canada isn't playing fair in softwood lumber.
On October 12, 2006, the second U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) came into effect and terminated more than 20 different legal disputes surrounding Canadas softwood lumber subsidies and below cost of production sales in the U.S. market. The U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, an alliance of large and small lumber producers from around the country, supports the SLA.
The agreement encourages Canadian provinces to abandon their long-standing practices of subsidizing Canadian lumber production. These unfair trade practices have caused hundreds of U.S. lumber mill closures, thousands of U.S. job losses, and have suppressed the market for thousands of private timberland owners. The Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports hopes that the SLA will provide the mechanism by which to find a permanent solution to this unfortunate dispute between two great trading partners.
Old news. Today’s condition is due to lack of housing construction. The mills that are closed were producing at full speed regardless of Canadian wood in 2006. Oregon mills support the construction industry in California. That industry has been decimated and it had nothing to do with Canadian wood.
No more free money, looks we are returning the old economy where money talks and enviros walk.
In the part of Oregon where I am, the "idiots" did not stop the logging. Stopping logging was imposed on them by outside forces. First, the Federal Government took over a lot of railroad land. Second, outside environmentalists wanted to save the spotted owl. Now any tree more than two years old is "sacred".
When the Feds took over the railroad land, the property taxes from that land went away. We were doing just fine until then, thank you.
Now many Federal facilities make payments "in lieu of taxes". Army bases that send soldier's kids to the local schools and such, and the payments were originally intended to replace the property taxes lost to Federalization of the land. Well, now the Feds still own the land, and have locked it up so it can not be used, but do not want to make the payments to replace the property taxes they took off the books.
The best plan I have heard yet is for the counties to hire loggers to cut & sell the timber on the Federal land. If the counties do it, we can give the loggers sovereign immunity.
This would make for a wonderful donnybrook in the court system.
The bottom line is that liberal environmentalists are trying to essentially starve the conservative rural dwellers off of the land and into cities.
Look into the background before you start calling us rural conservatives "idiots".
Way back in the early 1900s the President decided to withdraw land from the public domain (open and available for settlement) and reserve the land as forests. No property taxes are payable on federal lands. In many areas of the west, the federal lands make up the majority of the land base. This meant that there was an insufficient tax base and access to resources for an economic base. In a deal with county governments, Congress agreed to pay PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) based on the 1900s assessed value when the lands were withdrawn. It also agreed to give the counties 25% of the revenue it realized over economic activities on its lands - grazing, timber harvest. In states other than Oregon, half of this money went to schools and half to roads.
Our far northern CA county with 63% public lands, Pilt is rarely paid at full amount because Congress fails to appropriate the funding. Between schools and roads, however, we got $9 million in the 25% revenue cut. When the Northwest Forest Plan (spotted owl) went into effect, harvest on the National Forests and BLM lands dropped like a stone. Instead of $4.5 million for roads, we suddenly got around $200,000. Half of our road department funding was gutted.
The Secure Schools and Communities Self Determination Act provided continued payments based on the average amount of revenue we used to receive when they managed, instead of burned, the National Forests. That Act was not renewed, and we are back in the same situation. We do not have economic access to our county’s resources, we do not have sufficient tax base to support essential services, such as the road dept.
The feds want to wean us off the money, at best. At worse, they want to cut off the timber counties. Unfortunately, when they withdrew that land in the first place, they created a partnership. When they fell through on their part of the partnership, they left the counties crippled and unable to function with self-sufficiency. Unless we have economic access to land and resources, we are never going to be able to support our communities. We are left in a dependent state descending into third world status.
I recall that the eco-fascists said tourism would fill the gap once logging jobs were destroyed. How’s that going, you left wing pigs? Not too well? How about we do public floggings of eco-fascists and charge admission.
the eco-fascists also hate tourism .
They fight against hunting, fishing, ski areas, jeep roads, horse and hiking trails.
Can Congress duck the PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) ?
Was there an agreeent to prevent that.
Well said, Dave. Though I lived in OR 15 years I couldn’t remember the details on the railroad land. Our property abutted BLM and I believe that BLM land was some of that old railroad land.
Do you know if when the feds got that land it all became BLM?
Now that the BLM owns all the land they are continuously closing more and more of it to people. This starts by putting up “wilderness study area” signs, then after studying it for two years they close it, and put gates across jeep roads, etc. They have been closing off entire valleys and desert areas that have only minimal use and roads through them.
Clearly they want a depopulated giant area, the “Buffalo Commons” that seemed like a bad joke when we first heard it proposed. Eastern Oregon is slated to be a big part of that.
Yes, I think BLM is the default owner for all Fed land, until it is “promoted” to National Monument, National Forest, or National Park, at which point it moves from the BLM to the Foreset Service or the Park Service.
You’re exactly right about Easter OR, I hunted over there for over forty years, a few relatives much longer than that.
Started a seeing a gradual change somewhere in the 70’s with the BLM, seemed like they didn’t want anyone encroaching on “their” land.
Back to the rural Oregon problem. It is, now, just a fact that this money has stopped. And for a whole variety of reasons most of it is not coming back. That is the timber industry isn’t going to get reinvigorated. So, the Counties and the State do need to figure out how to pay for things.
In Oregon all money flows to Portland. Portland has *four* different public transport systems (multiple new street car lines, an ever growing light rail system, a new $100 million dollar tram and a extensive bus system). So there is plenty of money there, it’s just a question of who is going to get it.
Sadly the Portland pols are so corrupt and obsessed that it seems likely they will continue to work with the Portland (& I-5) dominated legislature and Portland oriented Gov. to do what Portland wants and let the country take the hindmost.
I don't know for sure, but I think a lot of it did become BLM land.
Essentially, this was the old bait & switch. Rural counties were promised Federal payments to make up for the lost property tax revenue, and now that the deed is done, and can not be reversed, years later the Feds unilaterally stop the payments.
Oh, and the story now is that somehow we are "profligate" and "overspending" because we did not replace the Federal money with local taxes. Well, the place where we really went wrong was in believing the Federal Government in the first place. There originally was no limit on the time for the Federal payments.
All these people from other states who feel so smug & superior should think about what happens when a county loses 50-70% of its taxable area to the Feds. And for a nice double whammy, they take all of the industrial jobs out of your county by shutting down most of your primary industry (logging & lumber).
Thanks, I agree. During the time we lived there was when the logging industry took the hit from the enviro nut jobs. Loggers got hit first and then the mills and wood related industry followed. A whole industry was ruined thus the economy was hit hard.
Congress cuts the PILT by not appropriating the money to fill its statutory obligations to pay. The PILT law is passed and on the books, it just isn’t fully funded. Hasn’t been for a while. The state of California has renegged altogether on its PILT.
The BLM lands were largely “public domain” lands left after all the withdrawals for National Forests, National Refuges, National Parks and Monuments. They were managed under the 1934 Taylor Grazing Act. In 1972 under FLPMA (Federal Land Management Act) Congress stated that it was its policy to keep those lands under federal (all the states together) ownership rather than as trustee for the public of the states in which they are located. East of the Mississippi, all the public domain lands were already disposed into private hands, so this “theft” was purpetrated on the people of the west. (Forests, park lands etc. in the east were created on purchased or donated lands.)
Despite the Equal Footing Doctrine, there has always been an inequality between the way the Eastern and Western states are treated in the Union. This is part of what the “Sagebrush Rebellion” was all about.
I am not certain about the Oregon Railroad Lands. I do know that the various railroad acts set aside every other section along the path of a proposed rail road line to be given to the Rail Road as an incentive to invest in building the track. Some routes were set aside and never built. In my California County, the BLM know owns checkerboard sections of land next to private land because of this.
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