April 17, 2006
Amanda Box, Communication and Program Coordinator
Pictured: from left to right Steve Corbitt, Mississippi Forestry Association Government Affairs Committee; David Moody, Mississippi Board of Registration for Foresters; Stephen M. Butler, Mississippi Chapter-Association of Consulting Foresters; Bruce C. Alt, Mississippi Forestry Association; and Governor Haley Barbour
Jackson, Miss - Mississippi Forestry Association (MFA) is very pleased to announce that Governor Barbour approved and signed the Reforestation Tax Credit Bill into law. A ceremonial bill signing was conducted on Friday, April 13, 2007, and the official bill was signed on March 26, 2007. House Bill 1628 was passed by both the Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate during the 2007 Regular Legislative Session. Click here to view House Bill 1628.
The Mississippi Reforestation Tax Credit was created by the Mississippi Legislature in 1999. This legislation was awarded the most outstanding new state forestry legislation by the National Woodland Owners Association. Mississippi is the only state to ever receive this award twice in one decade.
This 2007 legislation raises a forest landowner's lifetime income tax credit limit from the current allowed amount of $10,000 to $75,000. In addition, a landowner may claim a tax credit of up to $10,000 in any single year with an unlimited carry-forward provision.
MFA proposed this increase in the reforestation tax credit, and lobbied extensively for its successful passage, in our continuing efforts to encourage and provide forest landowners with incentives to recover and renew Mississippi's natural resources from the catastrophic damage suffered statewide from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. MFA wishes to thank Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, MFA County Forestry Associations and other key partners from the forestry community who joined with us in lobbying for successful passage of this bill:
Other Hurricane Katrina forest recovery legislation supported by MFA and our forestry community partners includes three federal forestry disaster relief programs: Emergency Conservation Program, the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, and the Emergency Forestry Conservation Reserve Program totaling over one billion dollars to be shared by forest landowners in Mississippi and four other states.
MFA Executive Vice President Bruce C. Alt said, "There is no single federal or state program that can address all of the recovery and renewal needs of Mississippi's forestry community - private landowners, professional timber harvesters and foresters, and the forest products manufacturing industry. MFA's goal continues to be to support a wide variety of programs that will encourage forest landowners to reforest their devastated lands promptly. It is essential for landowners to remain forest stewards, committed to sustainable stewardship and producing the wide variety of environmental benefits and natural wood products we all depend on every day."
In Mississippi, the total forest industry economic impact on the state's economy is over 13 billion annually. The forestry and forest products sector directly employs more than 52,000 people, and indirectly accounts for 120,000 jobs, or 8.5% of all the jobs in our state. Forestry provides a giant economic engine for Mississippi and more environmental benefits than any other land use. Forestry is the source of wealth production for tens of thousands of family and individual forest landowners. Approximately 175,000 private landowners own, manage, and nurture 70% of our state's forestland.
The spring issue of Tree Talk, MFA's quarterly magazine, will include an article by Dr. Deborah Gaddis explaining the details of this historic legislation. In addition, MFA, the Mississippi Forestry Commission, and the MSU Extension Service will conduct forest landowner workshops in 2007 to help those forest landowners who wish to take advantage of this reforestation tax credit. Plans for these educational opportunities are in process and will be made public when details are finalized.