DNR Invites Public to Participate in Bat Habitat Conservation Efforts

Cave-dwelling bat populations in Wisconsin are rapidly declining due to a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome.  Some species may soon be listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In preparation for this listing, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is teaming up with the Michigan and Minnesota DNRs to develop a large-scale Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The purpose of this HCP is to obtain a federal incidental take permit under ESA section 10 requesting authorization for the incidental take of bats during forest management activities. The goal of this project is the protection of federally endangered bat species and the continuation of forest management activities in the Lake States. [Read more…]

Become a Tree Seed Collector

The WI DNR Reforestation Program continues to purchase seed from private collectors. Over the years, our seedling demands have changed; thus, so does our need for seed.  In 2017, WI DNR will be purchasing seeds for the following species: american hazelnut, american plum, black cherry, bitternut hickory, black walnut, butternut, shagbark hickory, sugar (hard) maple, and the following oaks – bur, red, swamp white, white.

Please read the following information carefully to understand changes in 2017.  Before collecting any seed, please contact the nursery first to ensure purchasing is still open for species you intend to collect. Nursery staff can assist with species identification.  If you have any questions, call the nursery before you begin to collect seed!

[Read more…]

New DNR Tax Law Section for MFL and FCL

From: WI DNR Forestry News

As part of the DNR Strategic Alignment, the Division of Forestry has consolidated the tax law programs (Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law) and associated work into fewer positions under a new Tax Law section.  This section will focus on the tax law programs, allowing us to better meet our customers’ needs. 

Within the new section, six staff are located in Madison:  Tax Law Section Chief, Tax Law Administration Specialist, Tax Law Enforcement Specialist (vacant), Tax Law Operations Specialist, Tax Law Policy Specialist, and Tax Law WisFIRS Data Specialist (vacant).  There are also four teams of tax law specialists located throughout the state.  Each team consists of a team leader, 8 or 9 forestry specialists (field foresters working on tax law) and 1 or 2 administration specialists  (similar to administrative positions previously located in Madison) assigned to cover specific counties.

To find contact information for the tax law specialists that serve your area, visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword “Forester” and select “DNR tax law specialists.”  There you’ll also find a description of the specialist’s roles and services offered.

You can find the new staff assigned to your area and their contact information directly in the Tax Law Directory.

Thanks for your patience through this transition and into the future as we continue our commitment to work together to sustainably manage and protect Wisconsin’s forest resources.

Contact:  R.J. Wickham, Forest Tax Section Chief, 920-369-6248 (mobile phone), Richard.Wickham@Wisconsin.gov

Wisconsin Council of Forestry Announces Strong Support for Funding the Mill Tax

The Governor’s Council on Forestry has announced it’s support for the continued funding of the Forestry Mill Tax. Read the full letter here.

Others in the Forestry Community Now Join WWOA’s Efforts on the Forestry Mill Tax

Lake States Lumber Association, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association, and Wisconsin Consulting Foresters released their letter to the Joint Committee on Finance opposing the defunding of the forestry mill tax. Read the full letter here.

LAST CHANCE to speak out on the Forestry Mill Tax

VERY SOON the Joint Committee on Finance (JCF) will be taking up the Forestry Mill Tax (or as legislators have been calling it the State Property Tax) issue.  The Committee is split on this issue and needs to hear from WWOA members and citizens about the benefits of the Forestry Mill Tax. Your voice and a few minutes of your time CAN make a difference on this very important issue!

HOW TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE:

  1. WWOA members are encouraged to call Joint Committee on Finance members to express their opinion on the Forestry Mill Tax or WI Property Tax on Wednesday, May 24 or Tuesday, May 30, if possible.  
  2. If you are a constituent (a voter in the district) of a member of the Joint Committee on Finance, try to meet in person with your legislator either at their office in Madison as soon as possible or when they are home in their district over Memorial Day Weekend.
  3. Email or send letters to members of JCF with your thoughts on this issue.
  4. Share your thoughts with your State Legislators in addition to members of JCF.

[Read more…]

Joint Committee on Finance Members

Please select Read More for the full listing of all Joint Committee on Finance Members and their contact information. [Read more…]

Wisconsin Property Tax = Forestry Mill Tax

While we in the forestry community have been discussing the proposed state budget provision which eliminates the collection of the Forestry Mill Tax and instead will use General Purpose Revenue to fund the Forestry Fund for this budget cycle – the Governor and some legislators have been broadcasting their message of eliminating Wisconsin’s Property Tax.

However, they never tell you why we have a very small Wisconsin Property Tax or how these funds are used. Top 10 things you need to know about the Wisconsin Property Tax:

  1.  The Wisconsin Property Tax IS the Forestry Mill Tax.
  2.  It is assessed at 0.167 mills per $1,000 of property value.  An average $150,000 Wisconsin property pays $25.05/year or about the cost of a couple of Friday night fish fries without drinks.
  3.  The WI Property Tax was created by a Constitutional Amendment by citizens during the time when Wisconsin’s forests were decimated at the turn of the 20th century.  It is because of this fund that Wisconsin has beautiful and productive forests.  Forests take decades to grow – by enacting the Forestry Mill Tax in 1930, citizens of long ago made an investment in the forests of today.  If this long-term source of revenue is eliminated, what are we giving to our next generation?
  4. The Forest Industry is the #2 largest contributor to the State’s economy.  If this revenue is eliminated – will the domino effect occur?  Loss of forest industry, loss of jobs, loss of income, loss of family homes, declining property values, …
  5. The WI Property Tax grows Wisconsin by aiding Wisconsin’s most urban areas – 12% of the fund must be spent in SE Wisconsin for urban forestry efforts to keep city trees healthy, care for Wisconsin’s southern State Forests, and tree planting.
  6. The WI Property Tax grows rural areas of the state by providing jobs through forest industry and tourism and by providing fire protection in rural and semi-rural areas.
  7. The Wisconsin Property Tax aids Wisconsin’s counties through the County Forest program to provide foresters, loans to counties for land acquisition and capital development projects.
  8. The Wisconsin Property Tax assists Wisconsin’s 350,000 private woodland owners with sustainable forestry management advice and cost sharing.
  9. The Wisconsin Property Tax provides forestry education for Wisconsin’s school children.
  10. The Wisconsin Property Tax provides significant payments on Wisconsin’s Stewardship Debt through the Knowles -Nelson Stewardship Program which provides lands for public recreation and conservation of natural resources.

Legislators surveys on Property Tax issue – Don’t throw it away!

Wisconsin citizens have been receiving surveys from their State Legislators on the Property Tax issue.  The ones we have seen make all kinds of claims such as – property taxes have gone sky high, hell is freezing over, elimination of the property tax will increase funds for schools, or it will help someone be able to afford a home.

What they don’t tell you – WISCONSIN’S PROPERTY TAX IS THE FORESTRY MILL TAX.  The owner of a $150,000 home pays $30/year  in forestry mill tax.  Take a look at your last property tax bill.  The amount listed on that bill as “State of Wisconsin” is your share of the forestry mill tax.

If you have received one of these surveys and you support keeping the Forestry Mill Tax – NOW is the time to return your survey stating that you support keeping the forestry mill tax and that you would like to visit with your legislator about this issue.

Please do not just throw your survey away – respond!  The fact that legislators are sending out surveys means that we are having an impact on this issue…but we need your continued input while the Joint Committee on Finance discusses this issue.

If you haven’t received a survey it is still important for you to weigh in with members of the Joint Committee on Finance.  WWOA’s  letter to the Joint Committee on Finance members went out this week.

Governor’s Weekly Address on Forestry Mill Tax

The Governor’s weekly radio address  discusses “lasting property tax relief” in the proposed budget.  Sounds good doesn’t it?  Until you realize that he is talking about saving you an average of $26/year by defunding the Forestry Mill Tax.

Talk about “lasting” – look at Wisconsin’s beautiful and healthy forests!  They provide us with a uniquely Wisconsin quality of life, a life where we have clean air and water, picturesque landscapes, abounding forest recreational opportunities, and a diversity of forest industries to help keep our forests healthy and rural communities with jobs.

WWOA encourages you to express your thoughts on the Forestry Mill Tax directly to members of the Joint Committee on Finance.  The proposed budget bill is in their hands and NOW is the time to contact them.