W.Va. House OKs extending timber tax exemption

AP News
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Posted: Feb 16, 2012 12:18 PM
W.Va. House OKs extending timber tax exemption

West Virginia would continue to exempt the timber industry from natural-resource taxes under a measure approved by the House of Delegates.

Thursday's unanimous vote passes Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's proposal to the state Senate.

The state's severance tax applies to natural resources as they're extracted. The Great Recession helped prompt the Legislature to give the ailing timber industry a four-year break from severance taxes in 2009.

Tomblin's proposal would continue to exempt the industry until around 2016. That's when severance tax proceeds are scheduled to pay off a debt related to the former workers' compensation program.

Timber severance taxes usually support the state Division of Forestry. Officials there say a reserve fund is helping the agency avoid program or staff cuts while the exemption lasts.