Bill would aid timber tax bills

State Rep. Matt Gabler of Clearfield and Elk counties introduced a bill that would add sales and use tax exclusions for lumber and timbering operations.

The bill has a number of co-sponsors, including Rep. Kathy Rapp, R.Warren, and would modify the Tax Reform Code of 1971.

Current law gives the exemptions only to farming, dairy, agriculture, horticulture and floriculture businesses.

Rapp said, “Taxation comes with the final product. It is currently taxed on the front end, for their equipment,” effectively taxing timbering operations twice.

She added, “I am very supportive (of the bill). The rationale is, it (timbering) is much like the farming industry. I’m happy to support it because it helps alleviate some of the struggles the timber industry is going through, and timber harvesting is vital to our area.”

“We have seen signs of declining sawmills compared to 20 years ago. We are lucky to have mills in Warren and McKean counties,” she said. “Anything we can do to give them a little bit of a break helps keep them in business and allows them to put more back into their business or even hiring another worker.”

Rapp expects the bill to be read across the Speaker of the House’s desk this week, which is the first step in getting it to the House floor.