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Timber tax passes in California

A proposed tax on timber came back from the dead, passing after Gov. Jerry Brown's aides muscled votes in the final minutes of a legislative session that stretched past midnight.

September 6, 2012  By  John Tenpenny

According to a Los Angeles Times article, the bill would place a 1% tax on lumber sales to fund oversight of the timber industry. It also would limit companies’ liability for legal damages in cases of wildfires caused by their practices, restricting how much government agencies could sue for negligence.

“We needed critical reforms to ensure sustainable forestry management and to protect jobs in impoverished parts of our state,” said Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills).

Federal prosecutors and Obama administration officials oppose the limits on damages out of concern that they could make it more difficult to secure money to pay for recovery from destructive blazes. The timber industry argues that prosecutors routinely sue for much more than the relevant land is worth.

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