Governor Deal Signs Critical Timber Tax Reform Legislation

 Governor Deal signed HR 51 and HB 85 on May 2 in Statesboro, GA, with several members of the Georgia General Assembly (Credit: Megan Frame).

Governor Deal signed HR 51 and HB 85 on May 2 in Statesboro, GA, with several members of the Georgia General Assembly (Credit: Megan Frame).

ATLANTA, GA –Governor Nathan Deal recently signed a key piece of timberland tax reform legislation, a big step in providing tax equity for the 450,000 private forest landowners across the state. House Resolution 51, a constitutional amendment, and House Bill 85, its enabling legislation, are aimed at creating a more uniform, fair market valuation of timberland for ad valorem taxation purposes. The legislation will be included as a referendum on the November ballot.

“Georgia’s working forests generate significant economic investment in our local communities due to the contributions of those who replenish and protect our natural resources. This legislation supports our timber growers and lessens the economic burden of producing quality products that sustain numerous industries, from construction to manufacturing,” Governor Nathan Deal said.

If approved by Georgia voters, the legislation will be the most significant update to the ad valorem tax law since the passage of the Forest Land Protection Act in 2008. House Ways & Means Chairman Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) was the primary sponsor of the bill.

“Our private forest owners are consistently supporting our state’s economy and environment, using their own resources,” Rep. Powell said. “This legislation helps to address several issues in the conservation use assessment of timberland to create a fair system for forest landowners while maintaining funding for counties throughout the state.”