February 22, 2013

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Hearings Monday on two Tree Growth bills

As always during school vacation, legislative activity slowed way down this week. So let’s move on to next week, when the Taxation Committee is taking up two bills on Tree Growth Monday in hearings that start at 10 a.m. in Room 127 of the State Office Building in Augusta.

Up first is LD 400, An Act To Amend the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law. Sponsored by Rep. Brian Jones,D-Freedom, this bill “provides that a landowner applying for classification of land under the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law must attest that the harvesting of trees on the land will be performed by persons who are residents of the State and that forest products from the land will be processed only by processors located in the State.”

The second bill is LD 492, An Act To Increase Reimbursement to Municipalities under the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law. This is a concept bill, so there are no details, only a short summary that says, “This bill proposes to increase reimbursement to municipalities for property tax losses resulting from the current use classification of land under the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law.” It is sponsored by Sen. Troy Jackson of Aroostook County.

MFPC lobbyist Michele MacLean will be at the hearing to oppose both bills.

On a related note, Gov. LePage told members at a roundtable this week (see story below) that as far as he was concerned, the Tree Growth Tax bills were “D.O.A.”

Members tell Gov. LePage about recruitment concerns

The major topic of discussion Wednesday evening at Gov. Paul LePage’s roundtable with MFPC members might strike some as surprising. It wasn’t manufacturing, bills or even taxes. It was how to reach Maine’s  young people.

“We probably talked about logging labor and education systems more than any other single topic, said MFPC Vice President Jim Contino of Verso. Read more…

Logging simulator may spark interest in industry

Everybody (at least in our industry) is talking about the urgent need to recruit and train the next generation of workers for the forest products industry, but Sen. Tom Saviello, Reenergy, Nortrax and MFPC are doing something about it. A John Deere forestry equipment simulator is scheduled to be at Foster Career and Technical Education Center (Mt. Blue High School) from March 4-6 to show students and forestry professionals what it’s like behind the controls of a forwarder. Working professionals are also needed to talk to students about their jobs and our industry.   Read more…

 Ron Lovaglio asks: ‘Where have all the loggers gone?’

Ron Lovaglio
Ron Lovaglio

There are lots of reasons for the scarcity of new entrants – interest, pay, skills, difficulty developing skills, openings, proximity to where young folks live and the perspective on whether logging is a “neat profession” to be in – and more, says Ron Lovaglio, a former Conservation commissioner who has spent his life in the forest products industry. So it’s time to bring back apprenticeships.
Read more…