Timber company, county decry Idaho land buying splurge

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A timber company and northern Idaho county say Idaho's plan to buy timberland unfairly competes with private businesses and takes away tax revenue from local governments.

Keith Williams of the Stimson Lumber Company on Tuesday told Republican Gov. Brad Little and four other statewide-elected officials on the Idaho Land Board that the state buying timberland is a bad idea.

Benewah County Commissioner Phil Lambert told board members that his county loses tax money when the state buys private land.

Board members listened but didn't comment.

Idaho has been selling hundreds of residential home sites as well as commercial real estate as it gets out of leasing properties.

The state expects to bank about $180 million that a financial adviser says should be used to buy timberland and farmland.

Idaho state lands generate money mainly for public schools.

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