by Collin Reischman
A legislative breakfast hosted by the Political Action Committee of the Missouri Forest Products Association will be held at 7:30 am on Wednesday, January 16 in State Capitol House Hearing Room 7.
The breakfast, which is an annual event, is aimed at introducing members of the MFPA to their elected officials. MFPA Member Keith Holloway said a large portion of the breakfast is focused on educating representatives about the nature of their business.
“We want to educate them on how we harvest timber and how we do it in a way that has minimal impact on the environment,” Holloway said. “We have a tree planting program that we want people to know about, and this is the chance to meet them face-to-face.”
MFPA Executive Director Brian Brookshire said this year’s breakfast would give members an opportunity to talk about transportation in the current legislative session.
“We want to ensure that the legislature is allowing us to transport our goods, predominantly within the state of Missouri, at a rate that allows our members to still make a reasonable living out of their mills,” Brookshire said.
Container shipments, which MFPA members sometimes require when exporting to Asian or European markets, come with an overweight fee for extremely heavy products. Brookshire said timber products often incurred this rate, and that making the rate reasonable was a major concern for the MFPA.
“Let’s ensure [our members] will be able to get the containers so they can take advantage of those markets, and let’s make sure that if an overweight permit is required, let’s make it reasonable,” Brookshire said.
Events bringing members of lobbying organizations directly to their officials can be beneficial. Last year, the MFPA was heavily involved in getting their tax assessment changed from commercial to agricultural, a significant victory in reducing the tax liability of their members.
“We are one of the original industries in Missouri,” Holloway said. “We felt it was more equitable and more appropriate to be taxed as an agricultural concern instead of as a commercial concern, given our history.”
Collin Reischman is the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. To contact Collin, email email@example.com or via Twitter at @CMReischman