Committee approves managed forest overhaul bill

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A legislative committee has approved a bill that would overhaul Wisconsin's managed forest land program.

The Senate's forestry committee approved the bill 3-2 on Thursday. The vote clears the way for a full vote on the Senate floor.

Landowners who enroll in the managed forest program get huge property tax breaks if they keep their land open to the public for recreation and abide by a timber management plan. Participants who close their land get a small tax break and must pay a fee.

The bill would lift the 160-acre cap on closed land for non-industrial landowners, allowing them to close as much land as they wish without penalty. It also would eliminate local taxes on timber and allow local governments to keep 80 percent of closed acreage fees.

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