Finance Charge, Fee or Assessment on Forest Land for Forestry Services and Forest Fire Protection.

(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, the legislature may hereafter levy a finance charge, fee or assessment on forest land in this state at a rate of a maximum of twenty (20) cents per acre on a per acre basis of forest land owned and as established by general act of the legislature. The legislature is authorized to provide that the proceeds generated in each county shall be earmarked for use in the respective county where raised to provide for forestry services and forest fire protection within the county. The legislature may provide that this charge, fee, or assessment shall be levied on forest land as is defined by the legislature, and that said charge, fee, or assessment will be assessed and collected as ad valorem taxes in this state.

The legislature may further provide that all revenues or monies collected from said forest land shall be distributed by the office of the county tax collector, or similar office, to the Alabama forestry commission, state of Alabama. The legislature shall provide that the forestry and fire prevention program set forth herein shall be administered by the Alabama forestry commission and that any funds collected but not spent in a particular fiscal year shall be carried into the next fiscal year for the same purposes in that county. The legislature may provide that local laws heretofore enacted relating to forest fire protection, and assessing a local acreage assessment, use tax, finance charge or other fee, tax, charge or assessment, in support thereof, which conflict with the provisions of that act shall be repealed; replaced or superceded by that act at a time to be designated by the legislature.

(B) The legislature may from time to time pass such legislation as may be necessary to further define terms herein or to otherwise implement this amendment or the levying, collecting, distributing or administering of fees, charges or assessments provided for herein. The legislature may provide for and is authorized to provide the procedure whereby owners of forest land may, by referendum held among such owners in this state, levy upon themselves fees, charges and assessments, based upon the amount of acreage of forest land owned. The legislature is authorized to make provisions for nonpayment of such fees, charges or assessments authorized hereunder and to provide penalties for failure to pay same. The legislature may further provide for the withdrawal, disbursement and expenditure by the Alabama forestry commission of any funds received. Assessments, fees, or other charges collected as authorized by any legislative act adopted under authority hereof shall not be considered as a tax within the meaning of this Constitution or any provision thereof. The legislature may further provide for or allow reasonable rules and regulations to be adopted by the Alabama forestry commission to effectively carry out the intent and purposes herein enumerated. Any uniformity requirements of this Constitution shall be satisfied by the application of the program to forest fire protection and similar forestry services.