Beleaguered sawmills seek tax relief after years of legislative failure
February 21, 2011
by Rebecca Townsend
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s sawmills have for years tried to convince lawmakers to provide property tax relief. And for years the state’s school districts have resisted the millers’ efforts, decrying the effects the lost revenue would have on local education.
The industry, already battling to maintain its core against a flood of cheap, foreign imports, is reeling under the sustained blows befalling housing and construction. Missouri lost 90 sawmills between 2006 and 2009, according to statistics kept by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Officials estimate about 450 mills remain.
A peak at sales figures reported to the Missouri Department of Revenue illustrates the fiscal realities facing the industry. In 2010, the state’s sawmills reported $2.2 million in sales, a 60 percent drop from 2008. The industry reported sales of $4.9 million in 2000.
The millers are back at the legislature this session, determined to convince legislators that the gravity of their financial situation warrants relief.
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