Budget negotiators to consider boosting logging fees

The Associated Press
Friday May 24, 2002

SACRAMENTO – Budget negotiators will consider boosting logging fees to help trim the state’s projected $23.6 billion budget shortfall, lawmakers decided Wednesday evening. 

An Assembly budget subcommittee deliberately approved a different proposed timber yield tax increase than was approved last week by its Senate counterpart. 

The effect is to send the issue to a budget conference committee made up of negotiators from the Assembly and Senate, said Assemblyman Fred Keeley, D-Boulder Creek, who proposed the move. 

The Senate subcommittee proposed the tax be increased by 4 percentage points, raising an estimated $21.5 million a year to fully cover the state’s cost of environmental reviews of logging plans, the Legislative Analyst’s Office projected. 

Timber owners currently pay a 3 percent yield tax, but just $174,000 goes to harvest reviews. 

Timber companies and the Department of Forestry object to the proposal, saying logging companies already pay other costs associated with the reviews.