Oregon Forest Homeowners' Association
Generations of family and friends in Oregon’s forests.
Stewards and conservationists of Oregon’s forests.
Preserving and protecting Oregon’s Forest Service cabins.
Leaving a legacy in Oregon’s forests
for the next generation of cabin users.
> 2014 OFHA Membership Meeting Summary.pdf
Cabin Fee Act: the CBO finally responds.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has issued their opinion of the Cabin Fee Act of 2013 (S.1341) and their conclusions are not favorable. As we have mentioned in the past, delaying passage of the bill into 2014 would have negative effects on scoring. This has proven to be true. Also, it must be understood that as the gatekeeper for revenue evaluations of legislation, created by the “Pay As You Go” rules of Congress, the CBO does not disclose exactly how they arrive at their conclusions, so we have done our best to interpret the CBO report and propose revisions to the bill to solve for the identified revenue gap. The challenges have been and continue to be formidable.
We are having frequent and candid conversations with the Forest Service over the details and potential revisions to the bill. It must be stated again that the Forest Service continues to support the Cabin Fee Act (CFA) and encourages open dialogue aimed at resolving differences and interpretations. Every effort is being made to be sure we view and interpret the bill the same.
Further research and discussions clarifying complexities such as the timing of CUFFA implementation, how the fee cap affects revenues during the transition period, the revenue impact of pending second appraisals and the potential loss of cabins under CUFFA are proceeding. That said, our proposed revisions to bill language and components of the bill are noted below.
· Change first year of Fee Retention to 2024, not 2023. Delays for one year when the FS can begin utilizing CFA funds.
· Change required completion of current appraisals under CUFFA to one year, not two. This reflects current timing projections and moves full implementation of the CFA to 2016, not 2017, as noted by the CBO. This eliminates one year fee cap and increases the inflationary adjustment.
· Revise second appraisal paragraph, insert second appraisal reference in current appraisal section. Intent is to ensure that second appraisals apply only to completion of the current appraisals under CUFFA. No future appraisals will be permitted under the CFA.
· Remove ‘not to exceed’ and ‘at least’ from the CFA fee table. Intent is to allow the FS to assign permits to fee tiers in numbers that are as close ‘approximately’ to the stated percentages. This aligns with the House bill.
· Increase each CFA fee tier by $100. First tier becomes $600, the second tier becomes $1100, and so on up to the 11thtier at $5600. Without this increase NFH and C2 have little confidence that passage of the CFA can occur this year.
The first four changes above do not impact cabin owners, but will clarify the intent of the bill and adjust some of the assumptions made by the CBO. These changes will solve most of the revenue gap, however we believe a change to the fee table is required to close the remaining gap. The NFH and the Cabin Coalition 2 endorse these changes. Over the next week or so we will confirm the proposed language changes to the bill with Forest Service and our bill sponsors. Then we expect our sponsors to take these changes back to the CBO for consideration and review. Hopefully, we will satisfy the revenue issue and allow the bill to move forward. And finally, the political calendar shortens daily and is further complicated by the election year. We cannot be assured that passage of the bill will happen quickly, but every effort to achieve passage of the Cabin Fee Act this year is being made.
Cabin Coalition 2 Steering Committee
March 22, 2014
> View Slide Presentation
Please check the NFH website (http://www.nationalforesthomeowners.org/) regularly for further information about the latest CFA developments in 2013 and how you can help advance the cause.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN THE TIME COMES?
Contact our Senators and your Congressperson. Let them know we appreciate their support and want the Cabin Fee Act legislation passed in this new Congress.
Addendum from Pete Bailey, NFHA: The importance of a prompt ‘markup’ by the Energy & Natural Resources Committee is essential if we expect to have a chance at getting the bill passed this year. We ask that all Oregon cabin owners contact Senator Wyden before Monday, December 2 with the following message. Please try to put this in your own words as much as you can.
Give sincere thanks to Senator Wyden for his support and his commitment to get the Cabin Fee Act, S.1341, passed. This cannot be over emphasized:
Point out how much you appreciate his very positive remarks at the Nov. 20th hearing for S. 1341 by the Energy & Natural Resource Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining. We are very pleased to have full Forest Service support for S.1341, but stress how important getting the CFA passed into law this year because next year the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) evaluations become even more problematic than this year. Ask that S.1341 receive a prompt ‘markup’ by the ENR committee, perhaps just after Thanksgiving. This will encourage a quick response from the CBO and improves our chances of passage this year! Oregon cabin owners and cabin owners everywhere want to see S. 1341 passed without changes.
Senator Ron Wyden contact information:
Address: 221 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5244
Senator Jeff Merkley
Address: 313 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3753
Website to find your Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Also, if you can help support these efforts financially, the NFHA could use additional funds for the lobbying efforts. For more information on how to help go to the NFHA website at: http://nationalforesthomeowners.org/ . If we all work together, hopefully we will have a better and fairer permit fee system in the future.