A few details of the state budget leaked out almost as soon as the deal was cut last weekend – suspending Proposition 98, saving welfare-to-work, postponing some tax cuts for business. On Tuesday, the Sacramento Bee reported in passing that the deal also included tax considerations for Humboldt Redwoods Co., a timber company owned by San Francisco’s Fisher family, the founders of the Gap and other clothing stores. No details in the Bee story. I made no progress with one quick call, but the Los Angeles Times posted a story with the background. You can read it here.

And here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: Humboldt Redwoods was created two years ago when the Fishers Mendocino Redwoods Co. assumed control of the bankrupt Pacific Lumber Co. – the main player in the long-running fight over the Headwaters Forest. The Fishers expected a $20 million tax write-off, but it disappeared in some tax changes included in the 2008 state budget deal. The deal cut last weekend would restore the tax break, but only for Humboldt Redwoods.

Will it be the source of controversy? Well, the Times points out that the Fishers are big contributors to both parties. So, I’m guessing, probably not.

A budget vote could come as early as Thursday.

— Jim Sweeney

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