Summary: HB 0025 amends the Timber Buyers Licensing Act by no longer requiring timber buyers to collect a fee based on 4% of the value of the timber purchased at the time of sale.
Description: The unintended consequences of eliminating the timber harvest fee is that Illinois DNR Forestry Cost Share programs would disappear. These programs are funded solely through the timber harvest fee. The harvest fees are cycled back to forest landowners who perform approved practices to their timber under an approved forest management plan. In addition, the funds generated by this fee are the only support for the Illinois Forest Development Council whose mission is to advance and promote the forest industry in Illinois.
1) Landowners who harvest their timber and follow up with a forestry practice after the trees are cut are eligible to receive ALL of their 4% harvest fee back
2) Expenditures from these funds benefit small businesses through the employment of vendors and professional foresters in the private sector. Over the past 8 years $2.6 million dollars have been expended from this fund to stimulate this industry and improve the forests of the state through projects on private lands
3) Currently there are over 11,000 landowners with 636,000 acres of forest land eligible for funding that would be impacted with a loss of this funding. A landowner must have an approved forestry plan by the IDNR in order to be eligible
4) Biologically our forests are an invaluable asset. Sixty one percent of the native plants and 75% of the wildlife depend upon forests for their existence. Threats from invasive and exotic species impair the future quality and growth of these forests. Funds provided through this source are important in preventing forest degradation
5) These funds provide financial assistance to landowners throughout the state for developing forest management plans and providing guidance in prioritizing and carrying out important forestry practices on their lands. Loss of this funding will prevent plans from being written and will inhibit landowners from making investments in their forest land for the future benefit of all Illinois residents
6) A small portion of these funds [9.8% - 5 yr avg.] allow the IL Forestry Development Council to meet its statutory obligation to study, evaluate and report to the General Assembly on the state of the Illinois’ forest resources and forest industry. The Council also serves as an advisory body to the IDNR and through that function helps meet a requirement needed to receive federal funding from the US Forest Service
IFA Position: The Illinois Forestry Association opposes HB0025.