SOCIO-3: October 2000 Progress Report
How do current policies, regulations, and laws affect forest resources and their management?
James E. Granskog
October 11-12, 2000, Atlanta, GA
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.
John Greene, Southern Research Station, New Orleans, is conducting this analysis.
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.
John Greene, Southern Research Station, New Orleans, is leading this effort, with collaboration from Steve Bullard, Mississippi State University. An abstract with preliminary findings has been prepared.
Cost-Share Programs. A recent compilation of forestry cost-share assistance programs (Haines, 1995) is being updated. Summaries of these programs were prepared that describe rules, funding mechanisms, cost-share payments, and accomplishments. A state agency cost-share administrator contact list was compiled. A letter/questionnaire mailed the second week in October will:
- Provide summaries
- Request updates for programs described in summaries, descriptions of newly enacted programs, and anticipated changes.
Terry Haines, Southern Research Station, New Orleans, is conducting this work.
Current Use Property Valuation. A previous compilation of forestry current use property tax laws (Hickman, 1983) is being updated using the state property tax summaries available on the National Timber Tax Website (http://www.fnr.purdue.edu/tax). Brian Doherty, Southern Research Station, New Orleans, is doing this update, which will:
- Create tables summarizing the key forestry provisions by state for the South
- Describe the key forestry-related provisions, the major procedural differences in determining assessed value, and the probable impacts of use value legislation.
In response to public input, a review of conservation easements as an additional tool for keeping land in forest cover has been undertaken, in collaboration with Harry Haney, Virginia Tech University.
State and Local Land Use Regulations. Work is being focused in three areas: local forestry-related ordinances in the South, right-to-practice forestry laws, and state water quality laws.
- A survey of forestry-related local ordinances in the South has been completed, under the direction of Harry Haney, Virginia Tech University. 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 continuing to analyze the changes that have occurred since the previous survey
- Previous compilations of right-to-practice forestry laws are being updated by Terry Haines, Southern Research Station, New Orleans. A state agency and forestry association contact list has been compiled. A letter/questionnaire was mailed which will provide summaries and request updates.
- As was agreed to at the July Assessment Team Meeting, an analysis of state water quality laws pertaining to silviculture has been undertaken. Steverson Moffat, Southern Research Station, New Orleans, is overseeing this work, which is being conducted under a cooperative agreement with the Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, Tulane University, New Orleans.