California lumber tax dropped
A proposed 1% additional sales tax on selected lumber products that was part of Governor Jerry Brown’s attempt to close a state budget gap has been dropped, much to the relief of California LBM dealers. The tax pitted retail lumber sellers against lumber producers by shifting fees the timber industry currently pays to its customers.
The 1% tax would have been used to fund the regulatory activities of four state agencies involved in reviewing and monitoring timber harvest plans that are required for all private and public timber cutting. Currently, those costs are paid by the landowners and from state general fund expenditures. The proposal to shift the program costs to the retail lumber dealers was supported by the California Forestry Association.
The Lumber Association of California and Nevada (LACN) lobbied hard against the tax, citing the additional cost and complexity of setting up a new tax collection system. It was also unclear exactly which wood products would be subject to the tax, the LACN pointed out.
LACN disagreed with that proposal and advocated that the fees should remain as they are and not be an additional cost to consumers. The timber industry wanted the fees to be passed on to the end user to lessen the competition they face from timber produced outside California and thus not subject to California regulations.
In a statement, the LACN said:
"The additional tax would have funded and expanded the budgets of the various state agencies that review, regulate and approve or deny timber harvest plans for the timber producers. In the past some of the costs of regulations were paid by fees charged the industry, but the various state agencies that oversee the timber industry actually wanted the fees and costs to the industry to be increased. The timber industry proposed those fees be passed on to the end user to lessen the competition they face from timber produced outside California and thus not subject to California regulations."
Perennial Wood Decking being tested at Lowe’s
An executive from Eastman Chemical discussed a test of a new treated wood product at Lowe’s in its northeastern stores this month. Speaking at the JP Morgan Diversified Industries conference on June 5, senior VP and CFO Curt Espeland told analysts that Perennial Wood, a treated (also described as “modified”) wood product launched at the Builders’ Show, was being made available at 50 Lowe’s stores that same day. The product is also being sold through independent lumberyards.
“We can go to a full U.S. launch with a larger facility, if the market data suggests, with [a] 75 million board foot plant,” Espeland said. ”I can time it depending on how the market data tells us and what the economic environment is.”
Harvested from U.S. Southern pine, Perennial Wood is processed using heat, pressure and an organic compound in what the company calls TruLast Technology. The proprietary process permanently expands the wood’s cell walls to a fixed position, helping to minimize water absorption and making the wood more resistant to shrinking and swelling, according to the manufacturer.
Beacon Roofing Supply opens 200th branch
Beacon Roofing Supply, one of the industry’s largest distributors of roofing, siding and other exterior building products, has opened its 200th branch in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Beacon currently has four units operating in South Carolina under the company banner and 24 locations under the Best Distributing name. Best Distributing, which was founded in 1880 and acquired by Beacon in 2000, is the leading full-service distributor of roofing, siding, windows and other related building products in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Southern Virginia. Beacon’s growth strategy includes both opening new branches and acquisitions. The Peabody, Mass.-based distributor has opened 28 new branches since its IPO in 2004.
Beacon Roofing currently operates in 38 states across the U.S. and Canada.