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Post-Show: Timber Payments and Tax Fantasies
Talk about trying to wrestle the beast to the ground! We didn't even get the full history of timber payments in the show, let alone hear all the ideas of how to make up the money from reduced logging now that Congress appears unwilling to help out.
Thomas Brandt of Eugene left me a message with another solution after the show:
"Go to a tax department of any county and look up your taxes," he said. "Then look at the taxes of the timber companies."
He says he's got ten acres near Eugene and pays $600 in property taxes on it. He looked up a timber company parcel nearby and found the piece of land was a bit bigger but had much lower property taxes.
Another idea he suggested: go back to the early 1900s, when timber lands that were designated to fund schools were essentially stolen by rich investors. Change the law to take them back from the current owners and give them to school districts, he suggests. Then districts could run their own forests, sell some logs and teach students natural resource management, all at the same time.
"It's all fantasy," he says, and he's probably right.
Brandt has several personal beefs with timber companies who own land around his property and that experience certainly colors where he looks for solutions.
But plenty of parts of Oregon's unusual tax system were someone's fantasies, once!
(By the way, I'm giving Thomas some leeway because this is our first week. In general, if you want to give us your two cents, leave them on this site!)
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