What Will Be Coming in Policy and Legislation

By Eric Carlson, Executive Director, WVFA

We’ve had a busy summer with State and Federal action and inaction.

State Issues

Fall Elections— The Primaries sorted out many races and we hope very member is looking to vote this fall. We expect several changes in the Senate and House of Delegates that could impact issues of importance to you. We will be providing each candidate a questionnaire and posting them as they’re returned on the www.WVFA.org website. Also on the ballot is a constitutional amendment to regarding empowering the Legislature to change the business and industry inventory (B&I) tax and the personal property tax on vehicles. Removing the B&I tax has been policy goal of WVFA for many years. Many citizens are frustrated with the annual personal property tax. The current revenue surplus offers some flexibility to reduce taxes while maintaining current level of services.

Special Legislative Session— A special session to act on the use of the State Surplus in revenue ended with the Senate and House unable to conference differences in legislation proposed by the Governor. We expect this issue to be addressed alter this fall.

2023 Legislative Session— WVFA is working on key issues during the summer and fall in anticipation of the 2023 Session. Our policy goals remain steadfast to remove deliberate intent provisions, address the inequities in the Managed Timberland Program, and protect the private property rights of our members.

Federal Issues

Inflation Protection Act of 2022 This major legislative action will make many changes in the tax code, create incentives for energy improvements and address some other issues. The changes will be implemented over a 10-year period so it’s too early predicting the overall impact, but the housing industry is getting many incentives to encourage homeowners to make significant improvements to energy efficiency. Hopefully this will help modify the downturn in home building as interest rates increase. The “green” energy incentives include some that will help the forest products industry around biomass energy development and home heating with wood.

Endangered Species— This is a grave concern as the Biden Administration attempts to redefine ‘Endangered and Threatened Species” policy. WVFA is actively working with National trade Associations to push back on proposals.

Waters of the US This is another major issue that could impact harvesting through more regulatory oversight by EPA. WVFA actively works with National trade Associations on this issue that moves back and forth in each successive Administration, despite past Supreme Court rulings that favored exemptions for silvicultural activities.