........Comment by Bill Moore

...The forest around us

Death and taxes

....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.
....Take the case of the logging camp that builds all its own roads to haul its logs to its private dumping grounds. This is the case in a great many large and small camps on our coast and in the interior of B.C.

....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 fuel.
....Now, as a tax that sounds pretty straight-forward. Somebody down there in Victoria either dislikes gravel trucks or was once chased by one and yet has a sympathy for the dear old logging trucks. So far, very funny, Mr. Hope!
....But – if the logger has to move his big yellow Traktor on a low bed trailer, and use a logging truck to haul the low bed, then that same logger must empty out the fuel tank his tax-exempt fuel. For you see, dear friends, it is “agin the law” to use such fuel to haul a low-bed, even on private land. Victoria hates low-bed trailers – possibly because of their low profile!
....Now, as a logger, I am far from being a tax expert. I suppose there are such people and I am sure they wear long black cloaks and part their hair in the middle of their foreheads. Do these men walk by night and work out ways to drain the juices of our fine B.C. logger?

....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-
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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!
....There are a lot of dollars taken out of this industry through stumpages, taxes to companies, taxes to indivi-duals and by various assessments. Well and good. But as even our forest service people know, a darn small percentage goes back into forestry-related government projects in the outback.
....A small example of this is the Bob Hope tax law that charges the logger 12 to 14 cents a gallon difference in the use of fuel on a logging truck as against a gravel truck on private logging roads. I think Hope would laugh himself silly on that one – unless he had to pay it!
....Of course – seeing as how there are a few blind spots in Victoria – possibly we could just paint on the side of our gravel trucks: “This is a logging truck.” Just might be the chaps down there wouldn’t know the difference!
....Like everywhere on this old globe – there is death and there is taxes – even in the forest around us.

.Keep out of the bight,




British Columbia Lumberman, August, 1977  
page 61