"An Oregon Bill to Cut Millions in Timber Taxes Is Dead, Despite Backing"

"The legislation aimed to reformulate how Oregon funds the rising costs of fighting wildfires. It sparked debate within the Democratic-controlled Legislature about who should pay: taxpayers or big timber owners, who won steep tax cuts in the 1990s."

"Oregon state Sen. Elizabeth Steiner seemed to have a lot of power and momentum behind her effort that would have shifted the costs of wildland firefighting further onto taxpayers this year.

The influential timber industry, which stood to save millions and is a major source of campaign cash in the state, worked behind closed doors to help craft Steiner’s proposal. Republican leaders threw their support behind it. Gov. Tina Kotek, whose staff assisted in the bill’s development, also came out in favor.

But there was fallout from the effort. Media reports noted the industry’s central role in shaping the bill. Steiner, a Democrat running for state treasurer, drew a primary challenge from another Democratic state senator, Jeff Golden, who had offered a competing bill to fund wildfire preparedness and other services by raising taxes on logging. His entry into the race had the potential to turn their divergence on the industry into a campaign issue."

Rob Davis reports for ProPublica March 18, 2024.

Source: ProPublica, 03/19/2024