SOCIO-3: July 2000 Progress Report

"How do current policies, regulations, and laws affect forest resources and their management?"

James E. Granskog

July 18-19, 2000, Nashville TN

28-AUG-2000 update: We've contracted with the Tulane Law School to provide a summary of the status of state water quality laws affecting forestry and silviculture. Jerry Speir, Director of the Tulane Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, and Oliver Houck, Professor and Director of the Tulane Environmental Law Program, will be supervising and assisting two upper-level students with the research.

Federal Income Tax.  A case study has been formulated to examine the effect of proposed federal income tax incentives on nonindustrial private forest owners in the South.  Computer spreadsheets have been developed to model the following conditions:

  • Six proposed incentives:  Income averaging to enhanced reforestation provisions.
  • Owners:  Married, file jointly, no dependent children, $40,000 of other income.
  • Forest:  100 acres, three timber types, "typical" NIPF management regimes.
  • Model changes in:  federal tax receipts, cash flow to owners, land expectation value.

Federal Estate Tax.  A national survey of  woodland owners (American Tree Farm System and National Woodland Owners Association members) has been completed to better understand how the federal estate tax is affecting forestland owners.  Questions involved estate values, estate tax liabilities, and whether it was necessary to harvest timber or sell land to pay federal estate taxes.  Results will be analyzed to determine the proportion of NIPF estates that:

  • Paid the federal estate tax
  • Had to sell timber or land to pay the tax
  • Used "special use" valuation
  • Used estate planning.

Cost-Share Programs.  A recent compilation of forestry cost-share assistance programs (Haines, 1995) is being updated.  Summaries of these programs are being prepared describing rules, funding mechanisms, cost-share payments, and accomplishments.  A state agency cost-share administrator contact list has been compiled.  Development of a letter/questionnaire is underway which will:

  • Provide summaries
  • Request updates for programs described in summaries, descriptions of newly enacted programs, and anticipated changes.

Current Use Property Valuation.  In progress:

  • Updating previous compilation of forestry current use property tax laws (Hickman, 1983) using the state property tax summaries available on the National Timber Tax Website (http://www.fnr.purdue.edu/tax).
  • Describing the key forestry-related provisions, the major procedural differences in determining assessed value, and the probable impacts of use value legislation.
  • Creating tables summarizing the key forestry provisions by state for the South.
  • A review of conservation easements has been added to address its use in keeping land in forest cover.

State and Local Land Use Regulations.  A survey of forestry-related local ordinances in the South has been completed.  This survey updates a previous compilation of local ordinances completed in 1992.  Initial results indicate that the number of local ordinances has grown to 346, up from 141 in 1992.  Georgia, Florida, and Virginia had the largest increases and account for most of the total.  Work is underway to:

  • Analyze the changes that have occurred since the previous survey
  • Update previous compilations of right-to-practice forestry laws.  A state agency and forestry association contact list has been compiled.  A letter/questionnaire is being developed which will provide summaries and request updates.

 

 

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 modified: 28-AUG-2000