On May 10, Governor Brian Kemp signed two bills critical to Georgia Forestry Association members. The legislation included HB 997, which provides an ad valorem tax exemption for forestry equipment (pending a statewide referendum), and HB 343, which increases penalties for poaching.
These bills were signed in a package of six forestry and conservation related bills. In a press release statement, Governor Kemp recognized Georgia’s status as the number one forestry state in the nation.
“Georgia’s agriculture assets, beautiful natural wonders, and great outdoors have given both my family and many others a livelihood and good memories,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “We’re not only proud to be champions of our state’s thriving agriculture and related industries and natural resources, we’re also dedicated to ensuring future generations are able to enjoy them as well. The bills I signed into law will help us treat the forestry industry the same way that we do agriculture as well as protect hunting, fishing, and conservation land, and more. I want to thank those in the Georgia General Assembly who carried these measures, as well as the Department of Natural Resources for their continued efforts to conserve our wild places and the Georgia Forestry Association for their work to support Georgia’s number one forestry industry.”
Pictured above: Governor Brian Kemp test drives a piece of forestry equipment as a part of 2022 Forestry Day at the Capitol.
GFA’s Government Affairs Team monitored and provided input on more than 14 pieces of legislation during the 2022 Session of the Georgia General Assembly (See: Capitol Forestry Report, Sine Die Edition). President & CEO Andres Villegas thanked the Governor and the General Assembly for their leadership in supporting Georgia’s forestry community.
“Governor Kemp’s continued leadership has helped the state maintain its standing as the #1 state for business and the #1 forestry state in the nation. GFA applauds Governor Kemp’s support of GFA’s legislative priorities in addition to raising log truck weights through the pandemic and during a period of high fuel prices and supply chain shortages,” Villegas said. “Thanks to a strong business and political environment in Georgia, our Georgia’s working forests have the capacity to meet increased demands for goods and services, now and in the future. We are thankful that our state’s leaders understand the importance of protecting private property rights, supporting sensible tax and regulatory policy, and promoting healthy markets for forests.”
This November, Georgia voters will be asked to approve an ad valorem tax exemption for logging and forestry equipment as a referendum question. The success of this campaign will be critical to the future of the forest products industry in Georgia. GFA will be launching a campaign to educate Georgia voters about the importance of supporting this referendum and the impact of forestry on their everyday lives.