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Timber Talk 5/18/15

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Monday, May 18, 2015

Ohio Legislative and Policy News

  • Farm Bureau Weighs-in with Taxation Again on CAUV Rates - Last week, the Ohio Farm Bureau provided further feedback to Tax Commissioner Joe Testa detailing a second set of recommendations for adjustments to the CAUV rates. Here is a copy of the letter sent to Commissioner Testa. It outlines a number of adjustments including recommendations on changes to the capitalization rate determination, provisions for tax reductions on lands dedicated to environmental benefits, and for further increasing woodland conversion costs based on data turned into the Tax Commissioner by OFA. The letter also contains broader recommendations for improving the CAUV rate determination process.One of those involves a recommendation to continue working with the ODNR Division of Forestry on proposals to reform the Ohio Forest Tax Law (OFTL) program. OFA also is working with ODNR on ideas to reform and at this point believes that changes to OFTL could potentially improve opportunities for protecting working forest lands through better tax incentives.
  • US Army Corps Cannot Dump River Dredging in Lake Erie - A federal court ruled recently that the US Army Corps of Engineers cannot dump Cuyahoga River dredge material waste into Lake Erie. The Ohio AG filed suit against the Corps alleging that the dumping would violate the Clean Water Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act and state law concerning the navigability of Lake Erie harbors.
  • Kansas Repeals Renewable Energy Requirements. Will Ohio Follow? The Kansas legislature recently repealed the state’s 2009 requirements for utilities to get 20% of their electricity from renewable energy, instead replacing them with voluntary goals. The action parallels discussion in Ohio in which a legislative committee is reviewing Ohio’s existing renewable energy requirements and debating whether to maintain existing standards. Ohio’s standards were passed in 2008 requiring that Ohio utilities obtain 25% of its electricity from renewable and alternative energy sources. Currently, those standards are on hold pending the review and recommendations of the legislative Energy Mandates Committee.
  • Ohio Waste and Recycling Industry Generates $6.7 billion Annual Economic Impact. A recent reportby the Ohio Chapter of the Waste & Recycling Association indicated that the industry employs 14,000 people, has an annual payroll of $638 million and produces $3.1 billion in revenues for its industry members.
  • BWC Touts Success of Outpatient Medication Formulary. The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation recently reported the success of an outpatient medication formulary that it created in 2011. From 2010 to 2014, injured workers were prescribed 15.7 million fewer opiate doses which greatly reduced inappropriate medication uses.
  • Extending Term Limits. The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission has had discussion to review current legislative term-limit law and may do so in future meetings. Concurrently, a group of term-limit proponents has geared up efforts to fight anyone trying to extend term-limit length. Right now, Ohio voters overwhelmingly support (78%) maintenance of existing term-limit law. Interestingly, both supporters and opponents of term limits believe that their position is necessary to limit the impact of lobbyists among legislators. Some believe that longer term limits gives lobbyist more time to impact legislative thinking, while those opposed to term limits believe that shorter legislative terms only give lobbyist more power as legislators are more likely to need information from them. That fight will continue.
  • Senate Committee Reviews Oil and Gas Severance Tax Increase Proposal. The Senate Ways and Means Committee reviewed the administration’s proposal to increase oil and gas severance tax last week. The House had removed the tax increase proposal and the industry maintained that position in testimony at the committee hearing, citing a potential negative impact on the industry in light of declining gas prices and lower oil and gas activity in Ohio. Industry advocates when asked advised that an alternative tax increase should focus on post-production costs and cost recovery based on market prices. They further added that the proposed increase represents a 2400% increase from the gross receipts tax imposed on all other businesses through the CAT, which the industry already pays. Landowners at the hearing also testified against the proposed tax increase indicating that increasing the tax could result in fewer lease offerings down the road. Local governments at the hearing argued for the increase and the stipulation that some of the increased taxes would be returned to local municipalities to help deal with their higher costs associated with oil and gas activities. The County Commissioners Association of Ohio, along with the Ohio Municipal League and Ohio Township Association, urged the legislature to adopt severance taxes similar to what other states are charging.

OFA Board Meets
The OFA Board met last week for its second quarter meeting and discussed a number of legislative, forestry, and administrative issues.. Among the items, the Board agreed to renew the contract with Offinger Management Co. for another 3-year period. OFA has contracted with Offinger Management for 7 years and this will extend contract arrangements through 10 years. The Board heard a presentation from the Eastman and Smith Advocacy Group who made a proposal to offer lobbying and legislative services to the association. The also heard a presentation from Ohio FFA which was seeking approval from the association to create an OFA Forestry Curriculum Certificate endorsement for high school graduates who complete specific and approved forestry and forest management course work. The intent of the program is to better prepare students for entry into forest industry positions. The Board discussed woodland property tax issues relating to CAUV and the ODNR proposal for changes to the Ohio Forest Tax Law.

Forest Resource Association (FRA) Announces
Awards at Annual Meeting; Jeff Jenkins Recognized
The Forest Resource Association (FRA) recently held its annual meeting in Nashville, TN and recognized outstanding accomplishments for those in the industry for 2014. Jeff Jenkins, Glatfelter forester in Chillicothe, OH was recognized by FRA and the Wood Supply Research Institute (WSRI) as receiving a National Membership Award for work he did in helping to promote membership of WSRI. Congratulations to Jeff for his good work. Here is a brief news release. Pictured: Jeff Jenkins getting the award from WSRI director Jim Fendig.

Century-Old Lumber Operation Winding Down
This is a story
about a southern Indiana wood products manufacturer (StemWood) but it is a story that we have seen in many places. StemWood is a 110-year old operation goes back even further into the mid-1800s when it was producing wood products for steamboats on the Ohio River. But the difficulties and challenges of the hardwood products industry indicated to the company owners that maybe this was the time to shutter the operation. The owners are interested in seeking alternative owners for the operation.

June ECOFA Newsletter
Here is the June version of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association Newsletter with information on the recent annual meeting at which the EDOFA raised $3101 at their auction with proceeds used to fund students to attend the OFA Forestry Camp. There is also information on upcoming events and activities.

Coming Events

  • International Trade Logistics Workshop, May 27,2015, OSU South Centers. OSU Extension is working with the International Trade Assistance Center to offer a workshop for those interesting in getting more involved with international trade. The workshop will offer an overview of how to get your products to global consumers. It will also offer information on the Ohio Appalachian Export Grant program which offers financial assistance to small businesses to promote their products in international markets. The 2-hour, free workshop will be held 9 – 11 am on Wednesday, May 27 at the OSU Endeavor Center in Piketon. Here is a flyer on the workshop.
  • Seminar: The Federal Endangered Species Act: Implementation, Effectiveness and Implications for Natural Resources Management. May 29,2015, OSU, Columbus. A group of sponsors including OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources, ODNR Division of Wildlife, and OSU Extension are hosting a full-day seminar on the Federal Endangered Species Act. It is designed for Natural Resource Managers who have to deal with Endangered Species issues. It will be held on May29, 2015 at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on the OSU campus in Columbus. The Ohio Woodland Steward website has information on the seminar. Registration is $30 with a breakfast and lunch included. The registration deadline is May 22,2015.
  • Second Annual Tree Autopsy Workshop, June 6, 2015, Newbury, Ohio. This workshop is intended for arborists and those with a focus in urban forestry, but it may have interest for foresters and those working with traditional forest products. The Ohio Independent Arborist Association is hosting the workshop at the Independent Tree Service in Newbury, Ohio. The workshop is free but the organizers ask for RSVP on registration. Attached is a flyer.
  • OFA Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp, June 7-12, 2015, FFA Camp Muskingum. Go to the OFA website for camp information.
  • Lumber Grading Short Courses:
June 8-11, 2015, Yoder Lumber Company, Millersburg, Ohio. OFA is once again hosting the Lumber Grading Short Course at the Yoder Lumber Company, Buckhorn Mill in Millersburg, Ohio. The course is taught by NHLA Inspector Barry Kibbey. The fee for the course is $325 for OFA members/$400 for non-members. You can find information about the course here.Call OFA for more information.
June 29-July 3, 2015, Piketon, Ohio. A second lumber grading short course has been added this year. It will take place in Piketon at the OSU South Centers facility. The course is billed as a 4/5/1 Flex Day Short Course during which attendees can attend the usual 4-day short course, or attend a 5-day course which will include a 1-day walnut grading seminar. Those wishing can attend only the one-day course if they want. Instructor for this course will be Barry Kibbey, NHLA inspector. Contact OSU for more information. Note: for both courses, there is grant money available from the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG) for attendees to pay fees for the course.

  • Council on Forest Engineering Annual Meeting, July 19-22, 2015, Lexington, KY.The Council on Forest Engineering (COFE), a national member organization of businesses and people interested in forest engineering issues, is administered by the Appalachian Hardwood Center at West Virginia University in Morgantown. COFE is planning its annual meeting on July 19-22, 2015 in Lexington, KY and the meeting will be hosted by the University of Kentucky. The theme of this year’s meeting is Engineering Solutions for Nonindustrial Private Forest Operations. The meeting will be at the Downtown Hilton Hotel. There will be host of sessions on topics pertinent to forest operations in Ohio.
  • OWIN Summer Meeting, July 22-23, 2015, Marietta, Ohio. A great gathering is planned for the OWIN Summer Meeting in Marietta. Check the OFA websitefor information and registration. We welcome those members wishing to sponsor at the meeting or during the events. There are opportunities to be a sponsor of the Riverboat reception, or to sponsor a golf tee or clay station. Contact Gayla at OFA, 614-497-9580, ext. 5.

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