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State Sen. Sample proposes tax rise to aid forestry agency

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 14, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.

— A Hot Springs senator has proposed an increase in the tax that private timberland owners pay to help the financially troubled Arkansas Forestry Commission.

Republican state Sen. Bill Sample filed legislation Monday that would increase the fire protection tax from 15 cents an acre to 20 cents an acre.

The tax increase would be effective for assessment years beginning on and after 2013.

The proposal comes nearly a year after the commission’s director resigned over questions about the commission’s finances. The commission laid off 34 employees, although the state later announced plans to reinstate 15 firefighter positions it had cut.

Commission officials last year said raising the tax by a nickel could bring nearly $700,000 a year in additional money.

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Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 total comments

raybunce_yahoo.com says... January 14, 2013 at 10:42 a.m.

This state senator is a Republican? What's wrong with this picture? Maybe a nickel extra would bring in an extra $700,000, but to what effect? And after the Forestry Commission has already wasted who knows how much taxpayer money? No thanks, Senator Sample!

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arkienanna says... January 14, 2013 at 1:31 p.m.

I for one think we need a fully funded Forestry Commission. We have been pretty lucky in the wildfire arena over the past few years, but that luck has to eventually run out. Sure, hold the commission financially accountable - hold ALL state commissions financially accountable! - but let's not through the baby out with the bathwater here. There actually ARE some good reasons to spend money on government. I think we should focus on fiscal responsibility while providing the infrastructure and services Arkansas needs to thrive. I hate taxes as much as the next guy, but some things are worth paying for.

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