Forests initiative

A Ukiah resident named James D. Smith on Friday cleared the necessary hurdles to begin circulating a ballot initiative that would heavily tax timber harvests and use the resulting funds to create a massive new state government agency to manage forests. The California Secretary of State announced Friday that Smith and his allies will have to gather  504,760 signatures to get it on the ballot. He has until Sept. 10. If placed on the ballot and approved, the measure would impose a 33 percent tax on the profits from logging on public lands and an 8 percent tax on harvests from private lands. Smith claims his measure would create more than 100,000 private industry jobs and 2,000 government jobs, as well as restoring California’s forests over the next 150 years to a condition as good or better than existed before the 1849 Gold Rush. Smith also touts the measure as a way to comply with United Nations guidelines on sustainability. At least up here in Calaveras County, that mention of the United Nations seems likely to dampen the enthusiasm of many voters for the measure.

For more information, go to the Secretary of State page that lists measures cleared for circulation: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/cleared-for-circulation.htm

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