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California Governor Jerry Brown Signs Timber Tax Bill

Aired 9/11/12 on KPBS News.

California Governor Jerry Brown today signed legislation that would impose a one percent tax on lumber products and limit legal damages landowners pay for starting wildfires.

California Governor Jerry Brown Tuesday signed legislation that would impose a one percent tax on lumber products and limit legal damages landowners pay for starting wildfires.

The new law eliminates regulatory fees that California timber companies currently pay when harvesting.

Governor Brown said the law will “even the playing field” with out of state timber companies.

Mark Pawlicki is with Sierra Pacific Industries, which represents the largest private landowners in the state. He said he’s pleased the legislation also prevents the federal government from obtaining large legal damages for wildfires.

“It will say to our insurers that when we are trying to get insurance for our operations that they know a little better what it’s going to cost if the fire jumps from private land to federal land," explained Pawlicki. "So that will reduce our insurance costs and make it more readily available for us to get insurance”

Taxpayer groups and some wood dealers were opposed to the legislation.

The bill passed the legislature with a two-thirds majority.

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