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Timber Talk 8/12/13

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, August 12, 2013

LSC Quarterly Meeting
The Logging Standards Council (LSC) held its quarterly meeting last week at the OFA office. The LSC hosted a special visitor as Tom Gallagher, Assistant Professor of Forest Operations at Auburn University attended the meeting on behalf of the Wood Supply Research Institute (WSRI). WSRI is composed of forest product industry businesses, associations, loggers, educators, and forest landowners. Its mission is to promote and conduct critically needed research to improve efficiency in the wood supply system. This year, the LSC agreed to become a member of WSRI. Dues for the membership in WSRI are being provided by the 8 loggers chapters, but there was important feedback from a number of the chapters that they wanted to make sure Ohio’s loggers and wood supply system was well-represented in the research and activities by the institute. To that end, Tom Gallagher attended the LSC meeting to discuss research that had been completed by WSRI and talk about research that is being looked at. Tom further discussed a specific project he is working on that will detail logging costs and he is asking Ohio Master Loggers to volunteer information on one logging job that provides harvesting costs. He is only interested in costs but not revenues. Tom will prepare an information and data sheet that will be provided to our loggers that they can use to detail costs. Tom hopes to get a good cross-section of responses from Ohio companies that will allow him to detail information specific to the state.

Ohio Tree Farm Committee Quarterly Meeting
The Ohio Tree Farm Committee (OTFC) met for its summer quarterly meeting at the Vinton Furnace State Experimental Forest. The OTFC discussed business for the committee and among other things talked about the upcoming Tree Farm Tour on the Dr. William Lavelle family property in Amesville, Ohio. The 2013 Tree Farm Tour will be Saturday, October 12 on the family’s property called the Lavelle Family Stonewall Coonskin Sugarbush Farm (see the Tree Farm website for a little more information on the farm.) Dr. Lavelle was at the meeting and promised the group there would be a great tour with special favors provided by the Lavelle family for those attending the tour. Mark your calendars to attend the day, which will be the week following the Paul Bunyan Show. In addition to the discussion on other Tree Farm business, the committee discussed a proposed sponsorship agreement with the Ohio Forestry Association Foundation which currently sponsors the Ohio Tree Farm Committee. A working group of OFA Foundation Board members and OTFC members have been working on the agreement this year and hope to get things in order in the near future.

President’s Tax Proposal
Just before the August recess of Congress, President Obama unveiled what the White House is calling "pro-growth tax reform and jobs package" that would use "one-time revenues” raised from closing tax loopholes during a transition to a new business tax reform system to fully offset the cost of increased spending on infrastructure and job training programs. A copy of the 4-page summary of the proposal is can be read here. The fact sheet indicates the business tax reform would be in the long run revenue-neutral. The fact sheet indicates the proposal is supposed to eliminate loopholes that give companies incentive to send jobs overseas. It would provide a top corporate tax rate of 28% and a manufacturing tax rate no higher than 25%. The White House fact sheet also states that the President remains committed to pursuing a "long-term deficit reduction deal that includes revenue-raising individual tax reform and a balanced approach" to replacing automatic sequestration spending cuts. National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling cited changes to depreciation schedules and one-time fees on accumulated earnings overseas as examples of potential accelerated revenue from tax reform. Comments on the proposal were pro and con mostly along party lines. A joint statement from the Chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) was essentially a neutral statement indicating that the US tax code is "broken” making difficulties for both individuals and companies. The code needs to be simplified with elimination of "loopholes” and lowering of tax rates.

Regulatory Reform Actions in Congress
The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2013 (HR 2542), introduced by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama) in late June is intended to streamline existing law included in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which has been around for decades. The new law would require that "indirect” impacts of new regulations would have to be reported the same as is currently done for "direct” impacts. This legislation is supported by the National Association of Manufacturers and a host of other trade associations across the country. In addition, The Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2013 (HR 1493) introduced by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Georgia) is intended to slow down and rein in lawsuits from environmental groups which coerce state and federal agencies to concede consent decrees as a means of settling litigations. The law would specific minimum periods for public notices and provide for public comment and hearings on any decree or agreement.

OFA Co-Signs Letter to EPA on Carbon Neutrality of Biomass Energy#
OFA with a host of associations, organizations, and businesses co-signed a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy concerning Clean Air Act rules and the fact that there is ample scientific evidence that carbon emissions from biomass sources are carbon neutral. You can read the letter here.

Upcoming Events

Lumberman’s Outing, September 11, 2013, Orrville, Ohio

Paul Bunyan Show, October 4-6, 2013, Guernsey County Fairgrounds

Ohio Tree Farm Of The Year Public Field Day And Tour, October 12, 2013, Lavelle Stonewall Coonskin Sugarbush, Amesville, OH

Forest Heritage Festival,
October 18-19, 2013. Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds, Dover, OH

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