Dear Cabin Owners,
The Congressional Budget Office revenue report that was promised by mid-August was finally released late on Friday evening, September 12th (click here for full report). Perhaps many of you that follow the Congressional Record have already heard that the Cabin Fee Act (CFA) H.R. 4873 was found to be short $5 million over the ten-year evaluation period. During the following weekend, NFH leadership, the Cabin Coalition 2 (C2), and our lobbyists collaborated on a response to the $5 million revenue shortfall that was reported. All agreed that a $50 increase in each fee tier was the appropriate action and would make the legislation revenue neutral. Consent for this change was given by NFH and C2 leadership to Chairman Hastings’ staff director, Todd Young, during a conference call on Wednesday the 17th.
Though a quick decision, this change allowed our bill sponsor, Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) to submit the bill for Natural Resource Committee markup on Thursday, September 18th. We are pleased to report that the bill was successfully passed out of committee and has been assigned a new bill number, H.R. 5476, which replaces H.R. 4873. However, with Congress leaving DC on Friday the 19th, a week earlier than scheduled, a vote on the CFA in the House simply cannot occur this week. We have been assured it will move quickly following elections when Congress reconvenes on November 12th. We are also exploring how the CFA could be passed in the Senate on a parallel track to our efforts in the House.
Communication and cooperation with the Forest Service is at an all-time high. They continually reaffirm their support for the CFA this year. They and we are ready to address any lingering issues that may arise over the next few weeks. A group of dedicated, engaged volunteers continues to monitor events daily.
Certainly the situation remains fluid. Our lobbyists are intensely consulting our sponsors, their staffs, and key committee members to insure we have done all that is currently possible to support passage of the Cabin Fee Act this year. Key Senators and Representatives continue to express their adamant support for passage of the bill this year. Though exasperated with the political wrangling in Congress and the fatiguing foot dragging by the CBO we remain optimistic and vigilant of the process. Though many are at the end of their rope, patience is once again required.
Finally, it must once again be stated that the passage of the CFA will provide clear benefits for cabin owners in the Recreation Residence Program:
1. Stable fees now and into the future, increased only by inflation not the real estate market.
2. Retention of marketability of cabins.
3. The elimination of the volatile appraisal valuation process.
4. Strengthened relationships with the Forest Service with ‘fee retention’.
5. Peace and enjoyment of the simple cabin life once again.
For more information and current updates, please visit the NFH website.
National Forest Homeowners and the Cabin Coalition 2 Steering Committee
Thursday, September 18, 2014