Oregon forestland owners pay taxes on both their property and harvest activities. Forestland owners pay taxes on the assessed value of their property, subject to constitutional limitations, just like any other landowner. In addition, their timber is taxed like any other crop, on the income realized when the timber is harvested, processed and sold. Some have proposed that taxes be increased on forestland owners and that proceeds be distributed to counties. But there is no policy justification for additional arbitrary taxes.
Disbursing a portion of new arbitrary taxes on private foresters to counties is a false solution to their budget problems. Inadequately managed federal forests account for 60 percent of Oregon’s forests and less than 15 percent of its harvest. Oregon’s private forestlands account for 80 percent of the state’s annual harvest. The best way to create jobs and revenue for rural communities is to allow for the active management of public forests to restore them to health.