California Levies 1% Retail Lumber Tax

Bill transfers tax from lumber firms to retail buyers.

California consumers will pay a new tax to fund government oversight of the state's vast timber industry under a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday, relieving logging companies of the cost.

The measure also benefits the industry by restricting how much money government agencies can seek when suing for damages in wildfires caused by negligent practices. Federal prosecutors and members of President Obama's cabinet had fought the bill, which tightens the rules for tallying damages.

Timber company officials said the new arrangement would prevent the industry from being squeezed by government fees, onerous regulations and overzealous prosecutors.

They hope the new 1% tax on lumber sales, which takes effect Jan. 1 and is expected to raise $30 million a year, will lower their costs and make it easier to compete with out-of-state firms.

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Source: Los Angeles Times