Forest Fire Protection and Rural Communities HB 2588 – Climate changes and loss of insurance coverage to fund forest fire suppression puts Oregon General Fund Revenues at substantial risk. In addition, diminishing resources and a reduction of federal payments to counties has resulted in inadequate levels of funding for county critical services, like public safety, infrastructure and public health.
HB 2588 is a step forward in addressing these current and future needs. If this issue remains unaddressed, the legislature will be faced with further disinvestment in education and public safety and watching our forests burn.
This proposal would create the Forestland and County Reserve Fund, raising $10 per 1000 board feet measure to the timber harvest tax for funding fire suppression statewide and county budgets proportionate to their timber harvest levels. This proposal would be about $45 per truckload of logs with about the first 5 truckloads exempt for each taxpayer. As Oregon continues to have record fire seasons we must continue to search for new sources of funding to fight forest fires and ask industry to pay their fair share to protect Oregon’s forests.