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Shelton Mason County Journal
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Mason County Journal
November 22, 1971     Shelton Mason County Journal
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November 22, 1971

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In adopting SB 849, the 1971 Legislature established a new system of taxing timber which treats it as a crop. The taxation of forest land will be separate from the taxation of timber on the land. Starting in October 1972, timber will be taxed at the time it is harvested, according to its market value, torest land will continue to be taxed as real property, less the value of the timber growing on the land. In the opinion of the Department of Revenue, the most important product of the act will be a system of uniform tax rates which will result in an increase m revenue from timberlands. Criteria and procedures for implementing the new law are currently under development by the Department of Revenue While it is not yet possible to provide specific details of how SB 849 will affect an individual tax district, or even an entire county, the tallowing questions and answer~ will assist in explaining the new law. Question: When will the new system take effect'? Answer: 'l'hc changeover will span the next two years, starting with classiticatlon and valuation of forest lands, the setting of slumpage values by the DeparTment of Revenue, and establishment of a separate timber tax roll by the county assessors. lications For La0d Val uations Ava la bl e Forms for use by forest land owners in applying for designation of property as forest land under provisions of the Forest Tax Act of 1971 have been distributed to county assessors. The law applies only to tracts 20 acres and larger in size. Tom Flemer, supervisor of the forest tax section of the Department of Revenue, advises owners to contact their assessors to determine whether their land has been or will be classified as forest land for 1972. If not, the owner must apply before January 1, 1972, in order to have the property designated as forest land for 1972 assessments. Flemer said that owners of forest land which currently is being valued on a basis of highest and best use must apply if they wish to have it valued and assessed as forest land. [ruler the l'orest lax Act, designated forest land will c()ntJnue to be assessed as property while timber will be taxed only at the time of harvest. While the county assessors will classily forest lands primarily used Ior growing and harvesting timber in setting up their January 1, 1972, assessment rolls, they normally would not include forest lands which may be considered to have a higher and better use. For that reason owners of such lands are urged to inquire at the assess(~r's office as soon as possible. The applicati~m form asks owners to list property descriptions, and t~) describe their t ill] bet management plan and harvesting activities, lease arrangements and other ownership history, including current usage. i! le The volumes of timber of the tax roll will be frozen as of January 1, 1972. Timber values are frozen as of January 1, 1970. Ad Valorem (property tax) Phase-Out: The existing real property valuations will provide part of the income from timber and timberlands in the next two years. Property taxes will be levied on 7 5 per cent of the timber valuations in 1972 for taxes payable in 1973, and on 45 per cent of the valuations in 1973 for taxes due in 1974. Beginning with the 1974 assessment roll (taxes due in 1975) standing timber no longer will be subject to ad valorem taxes. Timber Excise Tax Phase-In: Beginning October 1,1972, an excise tax will be imposed on the stumpage value of timber at the time it is harvested. In the first year, the excise tax funds will replace 25 per cent of'revenue from the timber roll, with the remaining 75 per cent of the revenue coming from the property tax assessments; in the second year, 55 per cent of the revenue will come from the excise tax, with 45 per cent of the revenue coming from property taxes. The excise tax rate initially will be 1.2 per cent of the stumpage value. The rate will be in effect until September 30, 1973; the rate after that date will be determined by the Legislature. Question: A surtax is established in addition to the basic timber tax. What is its function? Answer: The surtax of .5 of 1 per cent of stumpage value will be imposed beginning October 1, 1972, to finance a separate fund for use in case the regular excise tax revenues are not sufficient to cover guaranteed amounts of A CAR BELONGING TO the Shelton Police Department, which was damaged when it left the Northcliff Road and rolled over earlier this year has been put back in shape by the auto body class at the Washington Corrections Center. The class is taught by Phil Stoppler. The car was recently returned to the city and is now back in service. On the right is the car as it looked after the accident, and, on the left, the car as it looks now after being repaired. distribution to taxing districts. Additional quarterly assessments will be made as required to maintain a minimum of $500,000 in the fund until 1982. Question: How will forest land be valued? Answer: Forest land will be graded by the county assessor. Values for these various grades will be determined by the State Department of Revenue, and these values are required to be used by the county assessors in valuing forest lands. Land which the assessor does not believe meets the criteria for forest land would be valued on the basis of its highest and best use. In those instances, an owner who felt his land met the criteria set forth in the bill would be able to apply for designation of his land as forest land. Question: Will a tax district lose future revenue because of this act? Answer: Freezing of the timber roll and distribution of excise tax receipts during the initial distribution system assures no loss in revenue. The Department's forest tax section believes that the overall effect of up-to-date forest land values and the excise tax will be to produce more total revenue from this source on a statewide basis. Question: How is this assured? Answer: Several aspects of the law will accomplish this result. For the first time, a uniform system of classifying forest lands will be in effect. The Department will develop uniform forest land values to be applied to all forest lands by the county assessor. In many counties, this will result in Question: What happens if an ah'increase, An excise ta~ ~rate owner of designated forest land will be applied in:a uniform way changes its use? Answer: If the owner of designated forest land decides to change the use of the land, a compensating tax will be collected. The tax is computed on the difference between the assessed value of forest land and the present assessed value as determined by the assessor and multiplied by the current millage rate and the number of years the land was classified but not in any case to exceed 10 years. to all timber which is harvested on private lands in the state. The schedule of stumpage values will recognize quality and species Question: How will timber values be determined? Answer: Timber valuations will be based on a schedule of stumpage values computed by the Department of Revenue. Stumpage values are what a standing tree is worth at its location before severance. Question: How will the timber excise tax revenues be distributed? Question: What will be the effect on excess levies? Answer: For the first 10 years the timber roll will be included in the tax base for the computation of levy rates. Thereafter computation of levy rates will not include timber value in the base but excess levy rates will help determine amounts of excise tax revenue distributed to taxing districts. At that time the amount of the regular excess levy on other oroperty will be reduced by the amount of anticipated excise tax to be distributed !o the affected taxing district. value, and will be set to produce revenue to meet the mandate set forth above; i.e., more revenue from timber and timberlands taxes. Land and timber harvest values will change with economics, and trends would indicate an increase over time. Question: What effect will SSB 849 have on debt limits? Armwer: The law contains a provision that will prevent any reduction in debt capacity for taxing districts which might result from the removal of timber from the district tax base. Section 9 provides that the value of timber as shown on the timber roll will be added to the value of all other taxable property in the taxing districts for purposes of computing a debt ceiling. Question: Whose responsibility is it to administer the law? Answer: The Department of Revenue will be responsible for the collection and distribution of . .excise tax revenues; it also will be ' required to: develop rules and guidelines on the classification of forest land, and application procedures for designating forest lands; and it will prepare tables of stumpage values for each species of timber, and determine the value of each class of forest land for use by county assessors. The county assessors will prepare separate timber rolls based on rules established by the department; they also will appraise forest land values according to the values certified to them by the department, and process applications for forest land designation of removal from designation. The counties will continue to assess forest lands on the same basis as other real property. The Legislative Forest Tax Committee of 11 members has been established to evaluate the 1971 act and to submit tax rates and other recommendations to the 1973 Legislature. State Starts Program The state of Washington will lean heavily on the Thurston-Mason Counties Council on Alcoholism as it moves to develop a new program for early detection of alcoholism among state employees. That was the gist of remarks delivered to the Council's monthly board meeting recently by Leonard Nard, director of the State Dept. of Personnel. Nard described the progress which his department has made during the last six months to develop the alcoholism program which will effect some 30,000 state workers under the Nard said private industry has shown many as 70 per employees with could be helped method of dete motivation to Nard praised Alcoholism Council for in paving the waY establishment of this which he said should savings of hundreds of dollars to state the next few years.. acknowledged th~ contribution in program made by jurisdiction of his department. Executive Director Such a program has been the Washington Federation number one objective of the Employees, AFL-CIO Thurston-Mason Alcoholism Fuller, counsel Council for the current year.Washington State "Almost a third of those employees live in the area served by your Council." Nard said, "and for that reason we will be looking to you and your staff for help in its implementation." The State personnel boss said the program will be financed through a contractual agreement between his department and the Dept. of Social and Health Services. Cost of the program for the first year will run between $30 - $35,000. Nard said the position for an alcoholism program coordinator recently created by the State Personnel Board will be filled probably around the first of next month. The State's program to help alcoholics arrest their illness will be modeled after programs now widely in operation in private industry. Essentially such programs consist of the training of first-line supervisors to detect early warning signs of the illness as they affect job performance. Employees whose work apparently has deteriorated because of some alcohol related problem will be given the opportunity to seek counsel and treatment for their illness. The normal disciplinary actions spelled out in the state's Civil Service regulations will be used to obtain complaince. Association. Fuller is' serving as chairman of Council on Alcoholism" Jan Valley At Uni Jan K. and Mrs. George Shelton, is Quarter at the United States In University, which is Diego. Miss Valley, with a diversified graduate of Shelton Before transferring tt Campus, she was USIU's M aunaolu Maul, Hawaii. The England located at Ashdown Row, in the The campus is an the early part of rests on 185 acres the heart of less than thirty London. CHARITY: a virtue heart, not of the o.m. to See Our Complete Selection of wine.s,.i For the Holiday TelJ o' Werberger, GallO, AI Christian Bros., inglen Michell Vineyards, pau Almadeu', plus manY and domestic wines, our Chilled Wine Dept. Also... Dairy Products * Bakery Items * Ice Cubes 1931 Olympic Hwy. N. Operated by Brad Owen Treot the family to Dinner at the Capitall Dining out will make this Thanksgiving a feast for all . . . it frees morn from the muss and fuss of preparations..lust leave everything to us and enjoy delicious turkey and all the trimmings. Make your reservations now! MENU Appetizer - Turkey 'n Trimmings -- Vegetables Our Special Dressing -- Home-Made Apple or Mince Meat Pie Choose your favorite beverage per person We Now Have Your Favorite Cocktail! Other entrees available from our menu. 426-1101 R E STAg RANT FIRST & 1 / Mable Long, Owner [ 1 II II I I I Answer: Initially, the excise tax will be apportioned relative to the current aggregate millage rate applied to the value of timber listed on the timber tax rolls of each county January 1, 1972. Even if no timber is cut in a taxing district, the excise tax receipts will be redistributed by the state to the taxing district as of 1972 at the prevailing millage rates. It doesn't make any difference whether timber is cut in the district or not, revenues will be provided out of the excise tax funds. A second distribution system will commence in 1979. This system will distribute revenues based on the current aggregate millage rate applied to the five-year rolling average of the value of timber harvested in each district. This method is designed to reduce fluctuations in revenues caused by annual variances in the level of cut in individual districts. Any improvements in the system will receive attention of the Legislature in the early years of the law so that all taxing districts are treated fairly. Hey, kids! Pick up that Pl at the Friday & Saturday at the We will be open all day % Thanksgiving to serve you... and all the Trimmings plus your choice of many salads AND PUMPKIN PIE with a scoop of ice creaml $.125A CHILDREN 11-x2 vas. CHILDREN xo A ADULTS _ Year Under 10! . Our Regular Smorgasbord is served daily LUNCH DINNER 11:30 to 2 p.m. 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Page 2 - Shelton-Mason County Journal - Monday, November 22, 1971