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Reader addresses part of tax plan

By Staff
Dear Editor,
This is with reference to the Hubbert/Riley Tax Plan. Although there are many parts to the Tax Plan, I want to address only the Ad Valorem (Property Tax), which goes up statewide by $470,000,000 per year if passed and consider its' impact on the timber industry if passed.
The governor's P.R. expert is telling us that Alabama is a low tax state and will remain so after the new tax is passed. Not so!
Last year (2002) our company paid $1.73 per acre on timberland in three Alabama counties and paid $1.66 per acre in three counties in Florida. Low taxes? -- not now and the projects are that these taxes will go up under the Hubbert/Riley Tax Plan somewhere between 383 percent and 792 percent (from four to eight times present taxes) depending on quality of land.
Either the P.R. expert in the Governor's office is dumb in arithmetic, is misinformed or outright lying.
Our company owns very little timberland and buys almost all of our logs in the competitive market. The effect of this new tax rate (if passed) will raise the price of our raw material in the worst lumber market in my last 50 years. This will put at risk the jobs of our 148 employees and the employees of other companies in Alabama.
A vote No on September 9 will head this off and will give state government a chance to pass changes in the tax laws that are appropriate in size and really do something about accountability in how our taxes are spent.
G.R. (Robin) Swift, Jr.
Atmore