Lawmakers Eye Tax Break to Spur Harvest of Pine Beetle Trees

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Denver (AP) Colorado lawmakers are considering a tax break to encourage the harvesting of trees infested with pine beetles and reduce the fire danger they pose.

A senate committee voted for the measure (House Bill 1269) Friday, moving it on to the full senate for debate. The house has passed the bill.

it would exempt all lumber, furniture and wood chips made from infected trees from the 2.9 percent state sales tax. Cities and counties could also waive their sales tax on such products.

Democratic Sen. Dan Gibbs of Silverthorne said there are 1.5 million acres of dead pine trees in the state, many of them near populated areas and watersheds. If they're cut down within five years of dying, Gibbs said the blue-stained wood from the trees is just as strong as wood from trees that haven't been infected.