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Lawmaker Proposes Tax Credit For Cattle Killed By Wolves

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon ranchers could receive a tax credit every time a wolf kills one of their cattle. That's part of a measure that got a hearing Wednesday in Salem in advance of the February legislative session.

According to Oregon wildlife officials, wolves have killed at least 20 livestock over the past two years. Now, one eastern Oregon Republican state representative wants to give ranchers who experience such a loss a dollar-for-dollar credit on their state income taxes.

Bob Jenson says he knows his proposal would cost the state money. But he says taxpayers who want to see wolves thrive in Oregon should be willing to shoulder the financial burden.

"I'm sorry, I'm a little bit old-fashioned but I kind of believe that that's a fair way to go, that if you want something it's only fair that you pay for it," Jenson says.

Last year, Oregon lawmakers approved a compensation fund for ranchers whose livestock is killed. That fund has yet to disperse any cash but when it does, ranchers would not be eligible for both direct compensation and a tax credit.

The conservation group Oregon Wild has no position on the tax credit, but a spokesman says the proposal makes wolves out to be a bigger problem than they are.

On the Web:

Legislative Concept 89: http://www.leg.state.or.us/committees/exhib2web/2011interim/HAGNR/1-18-2012meetingmaterials/LCs/LC0089_DRAFT_2012_Regular_Session.pdf

Wolves in Oregon: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves/

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.