........Comment by Bill Moore
...The forest around us
....I think it was Will Rogers, the great
American humorist, who once said, “Everything changes except death
and taxes.” Bob Hope, the comedian, should have said it if the
taxes referred to some of the ridiculous tax laws governing motor fuels
used in logging camps in British Columbia.
....The gravel trucks used in the construction
of private logging roads are not exempt the 12 to 14 cent per gallon
“motive fuel tax” that is allowed for logging trucks on
those same roads. The tax is 12 cents on gasoline and 14 cents on diesel
....Take, for instance, the tax auditor’s definition of a crew bus, a crew-cab pickup and a pickup truck. All these vehicles are used in logging camps for the movement of personnel from – be it cookhouse to the bush or from spar to spar. I speak again only of camps with their own private and self-built roads. The crew bus is exempt the 12 cent (gasoline) fuel tax. O.K. The crew-cab pickup is exempt too, but the pickup must be fuelled by the “full price” fuel. Did you ever ride in the second seat of a crew cab with two other loggers and all of you have wet rain clothes on? I tell you they should provide fuel free for such an ordeal of crowded knee space! But then the pickup does not have a jump seat so it is not considered a passenger carrier. Heavens to Betsy – what’s the difference?
....And that’s the difference between a gravel truck and a logging truck – other than that they perform different func-tions on the claim. It is really not an uncommon thing to have such trucks that convert (very easily) from gravel work to logging work, simply by changing a gravel box to a log bunk. Where is the chap in the depth of our capital who figured that one out? Bob Hope - where are you?
....If I write a bit of nonsense about the above situation, I only mean to point out the total nonsense of the situation that faces logging camps that build their own roads.
....And to add a bit of mystery to the nonsense, this law was passed about 10 years ago but Victoria forgot to inform most of the companies concerned. As a result they have allowed that no tax will be charged prior to January first of 1977 for those who didn’t know about it. – T'aint funny McGee!
....I understand that presentations have been made to our “leaders” in Victoria – but to no avail. They seem to understand all about logging on private roads and you can’t fool them into thinking a gravel truck is a logging truck or a crew-cab pickup is different than a pickup.
....I suspect that what they don’t know and don’t really care about is the simple fact that it has been the logging companies that have made 90 per cent of the roads in the province that allow the public to get away from the city and view the forest, fish in the back streams and lakes and take the Missus and kiddies out in the camper. For this the companies must be charged a fuel tax on the road building gravel trucks.
....It is one thing to be taxed for the use of roads built or maintained by government money. That is fair and everyone must pay his bit to the hilt. But it is another thing for a company – getting absolutely no help from the government in road building – to be charged the same tax. And then the silly discrepancy of gravel trucks and logging trucks. Not to mention the dumb rule about low-bed trailers not being tax exempt.
....This must be a case of the legislators of taxes not knowing what they are taxing – and not getting out to the scene of the action to find out what the real story is.
....I suppose there are many that the tax auditor may not have caught up to yet – and I suppose such writings as this might bring a few more auditors out of the woodwork. But really, if something is truly inequitable, then it is best to have it known than try to keep it under the carpet.
....Without grabbing up the crying towel, the logging industry is and has been hit from all corners on govern-
British Columbia Lumberman, August, 1977
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ment taxation. And in return gets very little back for its tax dollar.
....Logging camps, by the very nature
of where they are situated, create tax dollars for the province. But
they share very little in some sort of return to the people who live
in the camps in the way of benefit from these tax dollars. The city
dweller gets his fine roads and highways, his beautiful incandescent
street lighting, his sewers, subsidized transportation, city parks and
beaches for his tax dollar. Whereas the logging camp dweller pays his
taxes and gets gravel roads, no beaches, no street lighting and pays
for his own sewer system. Now, I’m not agin the city dweller,
but governments should look upon us all as more or less equal, and I’m
sure the camp dwellers know they are not treated as equals. Tax ‘em
all – and pour the dollars into the town chap’s comfort!
.Keep out of the bight,
|British Columbia Lumberman, August, 1977||