Funding for OSU's forestry research arm set to increase
The Oregon Forest Research Laboratory "came out as good as we possibly could have," according to a top university official, after lawmakers earlier this month set rates for the forest products harvest tax.
"A lot of people went the extra mile to help us get what we did," said Hal Salwasser, dean of the Oregon State University College of Forestry.
The laboratory is the research arm of the college.
The joint Ways and Means Natural Resources Subcommittee put 87 cents per 1,000 board feet of forest product harvest taxes to the research laboratory for the next two years. The tax is expected to generate $5.9 million.
The college laboratory currently is collecting 92 cents per 1,000 board-feet, which is expected to generate about $5.3 million in the biennium ending June 30.
The lab's total appropriation for the 2012-13 biennium from general funds and the tax is pegged at between $11.7 and $11.8 million, up from $11.1 million projected this biennium.
House Bill 2124 also puts $1.30 per 1,000 board-feet of harvest tax toward administering the Oregon Forest Practices Act, which is up from the current rate of $1.14. The tax is expected to generate $8.2 million over the next two years.
Total forest products harvest taxes on 1,000 board-feet for all sources is $3.69. The research laboratory, the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, the Forest Practices Act administration, and the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund all receive funds from the tax.
Lawmakers set rates biennially.
The department projects harvest at 6.6 billion board-feet for the next two years, which is up from the past two years but well below traditional levels.
By comparison, 8.1 billion board-feet was harvested from Oregon forests in the 2005-07 biennium.
HB2124 was in the full Ways and Means Committee as of press deadline.
-- Mitch Lies