The Fiscal Cliff and the Forestry Industry
This week the federal government took action to avoid the much-talked about "fiscal cliff," but what does that mean to the forestry industry? In brief:
EPA Releases Finalized Boiler MACT Rule
The Boiler MACT and related Non-Hazardous Secondary Material (NHSM) rules were released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December. While still under review by the forest products industry, they appear to be a significant improvement over EPA's original stance and previous proposals. The June 2010 proposals would have cost the forest products industry at least $9 billion in capital; were technically unachievable; and severely disadvantaged biomass boilers. The final rules are projected to cost less than $3 billion.
Estate Taxes: Estate tax levels were permanently set at a $5 million individual exemption ($10 million for couples) and a 40 percent tax rate.
Farm Bill: Current provisions that expired September 30th, 2012, were extended for one year. With some limitations, forest owners maintained access to needed tools through conservation programs.
Capital Gains Taxes: Capital gains tax rates remain at 15 percent for individuals with an annual income less than $400,000 ($450,000 for couples). For those with higher incomes, the rate increases to 20 percent.
Conservation Easement Tax Incentives: Tax incentives for conservation easements, which had ended in 2011, were retroactively extended through 2013.
Spending Cuts to Forest Programs: Across the board cuts on all federal spending, originally scheduled to be enacted January 1, were delayed for two months.
Payroll Taxes: The payroll tax was temporarily reduced in 2010 from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. The reduction expired Dec. 31, 2012, when neither side in Congress moved to extend it. Employers will not be affected because their side of the equation was never reduced; employees' take-home pay will decrease, however. Households making $45,000, for example, can expect to pay $900 more in taxes this year.
While many in the industry continue to be very concerned about cumulative effects of these and other rules on the industry, the progress made on Boiler MACT is the result of extensive and sustained efforts by industry representatives with the Hill and at all levels in EPA.
2013 Master Logger Education Facilitator Guide Now Available
The 2013 Florida Master Logger Education Facilitator Guide and DVD are now available to those qualified parties who wish to facilitate Master Logger continuing education workshops during 2013. Individuals holding at least a four-year degree in forestry qualify to be a facilitator. Others will be considered individually by the Florida SFI State Implementation Committee. The fee for the workshop training material is $50.
To receive your workshop training materials, contact Phil Gornicki (850-222-5646 or Phil@ForestFla.org) to receive an invoice. The materials will be sent to you following receipt of the $50 fee.
Master Logger Training Dates Set
Florida Forestry Association will be among the providers of the new Annual Update training in 2013 for the Master Loggers and Other Participants (non-loggers obtaining the same initial 3-day training as a Master Logger). Dates and locations have been scheduled, and early registration is advised as space may be limited in some locations. A complete explanation of the changes to the Master Logger training requirements, as well as registration forms for the Annual Update training offered by FFA and the initial two-day (formerly three-day) workshop, are available at www.floridaforest.org/master_logger.php.
Klausner Still Planning on Suwannee County Mill
Plans for a state-of-the-art sawmill to be built in Suwannee County by Klausner Lumber One LLC are still apparently very much in the works. According to a Florida state official working closely with Klausner on the project, the mill will indeed be built and a time is currently being worked out for a formal announcement of such by Gov. Rick Scott. The same official also noted that the recent announcement by the governor of North Carolina that a Klausner mill will be located there has no bearing on what the company is planning for Florida.
Austin Cary Memorial Forest Learning Center
If you resolved to make a difference for the forestry industry this year, we have the perfect opportunity for you! Efforts are underway to rebuild the Austin Cary Memorial Forest Learning Center, an important tool for forestry education and promotion that was destroyed in a fire several years ago. A fund has been established through the Florida Forestry Foundation to collect donations. A donation form is available here for your convenience.
2012 Federal Tax Guide Available
The FFA office still has copies of the USDA Forest Service's federal tax guide, "Federal Income Tax on Timber, A Quick Guide for Woodland Owners, Fourth Edition, 2012." To receive a copy by mail, please contact Vickie by calling 850.222.5646 or emailing Vickie@ForestFla.org.
Tree Farm Inspector Training - Register Now
A Tree Farm inspector training class is being offered by the Florida Tree Farm Committee on January 17, 2013. The training will be held at the Florida Forest Service District Office in Gainesville. The workshop will be held 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. To register, contact Phil Gornicki at 850.222.5646 or Phil@ForestFla.org.
Get Social With FFA
Forestry Friday is great, but what are you supposed to do the other four days of the work-week when you need your Forestry fix? Click here to"like" us on Facebook (Florida Forestry Association) or "follow" us on Twitter (FlForestryAssoc) to get daily updates, see photos, and socialize virtually with fellow members and other friends and followers of forestry.
2013 Dues Invoices Have Been Mailed!
Most of our members are billed in our “first cycle” dues billing. If you’ve recently received your dues invoice, you are one of those in the first cycle. If you are able at this time, prompt payment is appreciated. Not only does your on-time dues payment show that you enthusiastically support our efforts, it also saves your Association time and additional mailing costs. Thank you for your continued support!
This week's Bragging Board features the daughter of FFA's own Vickie Allen, administrative manager and very proud mom. Sylvia, age 12, took her first deer over the holidays while hunting in Troy, AL. If you have something you'd like to post on the Bragging Board, please email a photo with brief who/what/when/where information to LeeAnn@ForestFla.org