How the new lumber tax might affect Humboldt; Local lumberyards caught off guard

How the new lumber tax might affect Humboldt; Local lumberyards caught off guard

Luke Ramseth/The Times-Standard
Created:   09/10/2012
Humboldt County timber experts say a new 1 percent lumber tax that squeaked through the California legislature late last week will be largely beneficial for area timber producers and environmental groups.But, it’s caught some retailers off guard.”Boy, did they slip that on through,” said Eric Almquist, owner of Almquist Lumber in Arcata. “I get industry newsletters, and I haven’t seen anything on it.”

The lumber tax bill, AB 1492, requires lumber retailers to charge a 1 percent tax on lumber sold in California. The bill, awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval, would raise an estimated $30 million annually for regulatory oversight, of which $1.5 million will go to Fish and Games’ timber harvest review program.

The bill also limits landowners’ liability for legal damages due to wildfires on their property.

Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata, was a major proponent of the bill.

”It’s an important win for California’s economy, especially on the timber rich North Coast,” he said in a press release.

Gary Rynearson, manager for forest policy at Green Diamond Resource Company, said it makes Green Diamond and other California timber producers more competitive with other Northwest states and Canada.

”We do hope it creates a more level playing field,” he said. “We supported this bill and appreciated the support of Chesbro.”

Rynearson said California producers currently pay six to eight times more regulatory fees than out-of-state producers.

The new legislation transfers those fees to the consumer who buys wood at the lumberyard.

Erin Kelly, a Humboldt State University forestry professor, agreed that the legislation creates a more level playing field for California wood producers. She also said the tax creates a much needed steady revenue source for forestry regulatory activities and restoration projects.

Almquist said he is still in the dark about how the tax will work at his business, and whether all lumber products that he sells will be taxed.

”All the details are unclear to me,” he said. “Is it all lumber? Composite decking? Plywood? Locally produced?”

”Why do they keep picking on us?” Almquist said.

He said while the tax won’t discourage builders that buy from him, it them.

”It’s one more nick, one more scratch,” for builders, he said.

Tanka Cahse of the Mill Yard in Arcata, is a member of the Lumber Association of California and Nevada, which represents independent lumberyards.

”They’ve been battling it the whole time,” Cahse said. “But I need more time to see what’s involved.”

Luke Ramseth can be reached at 441-0509 or


1 Comment

Filed under Economy, lumber

One response to “How the new lumber tax might affect Humboldt; Local lumberyards caught off guard

  1. Pingback: Gov. Jerry Brown signs lumber tax, wildfire liability limits | Wood on Fire – Topics of Lumber Industry

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