Wisconsin Assembly approves managed forest overhaul

MADISON — The state Assembly has passed a bill Thursday that would re-shape Wisconsin's managed forest program.

Program participants receive property tax breaks if they follow timber management plans and open their land to the public. Participants who close their land get a smaller tax break and must pay a fee.

The bill would cap closed land at 320 acres, reduce the fee for withdrawing from the program early and allow property owners to lease their land. It also would eliminate local taxes on timber harvested from the land. Local governments would instead keep 80 percent of closed acreage fees, which currently all go to the state forestry account.

The bill cleared the Senate earlier this month. The Assembly passed it 62-32 Thursday. It goes now to Gov. Scott Walker.