WASHINGTON, DC –The Forest Landowners Association (FLA) commends the introduction of S. 217: The Disaster Reforestation Act, bipartisan legislation designed to allow private forest landowners to recover from the loss of timber destroyed by natural disasters. The bill,
sponsored by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA), would provide the economic certainty that is needed to stay afloat by fixing the tax code and allowing forest landowners the ability to replant trees quickly.
Private forest landowners include families and small timber companies that manage their land to not only produce wood products but to keep their forests healthy and productive to pass down to the next generation. These landowners face immense financial burdens when needing to reforest their lands after a natural disaster, which is often compounded at tax time when they find their ability to claim a casualty loss for destroyed timber is limited, often to zero dollars.
“America’s private forest landowners desperately need this inequity in the tax code to be addressed, and as natural disasters continue to wreak havoc, they are grateful for Senator Cassidy’s and Warnock’s efforts to get this important bill moving,” said Scott Jones, FLA’s Chief Executive Officer. “The legislation will not only help timber owners recover from natural disasters but will stimulate rural economies, support our nation’s domestic timber supply, and provide environmental benefits to the nation.”
With the introduction of this bill early in the new session of Congress, Senators Cassidy and Warnock have demonstrated the importance of forest landowners to rural economies, the domestic wood supply, and the environment. This bill will provide for the equitable tax treatment of casualty loss of their timber crop when disaster strikes.
“Louisiana business owners should have the resources they need to recover from a natural disaster,” said Senator Cassidy. “This tax fix provides much needed relief and certainty to landowners when their livelihoods are at stake.”
Georgia and Louisiana have 37 million acres of private forestland combined that provide 196,000 jobs generating $5 billion in salaries and wages. By replanting these forests after the devastation of a natural disaster, Georgia and Louisiana’s rural economies are stronger, water and air are cleaner, and private forests are regenerated for the future.
“Forestry plays a vital role in Georgia’s agriculture economy. I was proud to partner once again with Senator Cassidy to introduce the Disaster Reforestation Act,” said Senator Warnock. “As the voice for Georgia on the Senate Agriculture Committee, I look forward to doing more bipartisan work in the new Congress to help our foresters and farmers.”
With the increase in natural disasters across the United States and no efficient tools for private forest landowners to use for recovery, this is an issue of national importance that deserves a federal solution. FLA looks forward to working with Congress to advance this commonsense legislation and applauds Senators Cassidy and Warnock for leading the way.