From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Land Trust Tax Favoritism ALERT!

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400  Battle Ground, WA. 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087  Fax: 360-687-2973  E-mail: alra@landrights.org
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE- Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202-210-2357  Fax: 202-543-7126  E-mail: landrightsnet@aol.com

Land Trust Tax Favoritism ALERT!

At ANY  TIME  in the next ten days, there may be a vote in the Senate on handing over a special interest tax break to wealthy land trusts - at the expense of churches, private schools, charities and social service agencies!!!  S. 476, Sections 106 and 107.


Here is a description of the situation.  The powerful, wealthy multibillion dollar land trusts are working night and day to stamp out opposition to their plan.  This is their  TOP  PRIORITY  legislation this year.

The Nature Conservancy has nearly  THREE  BILLION  dollars in assets, and annual revenues of over seven hundred million dollars!  The Conservation Fund pulls in over two hundred million per year, and the Trust for Public Land rang up one hundred twenty million - much of it taxpayer funds!!!

BUT  they demand more.  And if it means pushing aside churches and private schools then so be it - after all, how many churches and schools do you know with three billion dollars in assets?

S. 476, "CARE" Act, Sections 106 and 107

Here is a description of the tax favoritism for environmental groups and government agencies - at the expense of faith-based non-profits such as churches and private schools - that has been inserted into the Faith Based Initiative.

It is S.476, Sections 106 and 107, called the "CARE" Act, which began as the President Bush's Faith Based Initiative bill.  However, it has been in part twisted into an attack on faith based institutions for the benefit of wealthy land trusts.

It states that on sales of land and water rights, the seller will have his capital gains tax reduced by 25% - ONLY if he sells to an environmental group or a government agency.  The usual taxes apply if the land or water rights are sold to a non-environmentalist non-profit, or to a private party.

This places at a competitive disadvantage the following:

a) All non-profits that are not "conservationist" environmental groups, including churches, orphanages, private schools, and social service agencies.

b) All private parties who may want to purchase will also have to bid a higher amount, in order to compete with the tax break accruing to the seller - only if he sells to an environmental group or to a government agency.

c) In areas, usually in the western U.S., where the federal government already owns most of the land, this proposal will accelerate turnover of property to the government and resulting loss of tax base for municipalities and economic activity for communities.

d) In many cases, the land owner who is selling the land will not even benefit.  When other parties are discouraged from bidding, the environmental group can lower their bid by the amount of the tax break.  So the only beneficiary is the environmental group.



Congressman Denny Rehberg has listened to constituents and is responding to petitions from 3,300 property owners in Montana!  Rehberg plans to introduce a bill to remove 81,000 acres of private land from the boundaries of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.  This is according to the Billings, Montana Gazette newspaper.

The monument designation was one of President Clinton's midnite land grabs, made in the closing hours of his administration in 2001.

Ranchers complain that they had no say in the creation of the monument.  Rehberg said keeping private lands within the boundaries would create a management headache for ranchers who want to keep their places free of trespassers.

*****  ACTION  ITEMS:  *****

PLEASE!!!  Contact  BOTH  of your United States Senators - ask them to remove Sections 106 and 107 from S. 476.  A vote on this bill could come at  ANY  TIME  in the next ten days!!!

The Faith Based Initiative should be used to help churches and private schools.  It should not be turned on its head so that it benefits multi-billion dollar land trusts at the expense of "non-environmentalist" agencies and the private sector!

ALSO -  THANK  Congressman Denny Rehberg.  Let him know that he is doing the right thing by rescuing private property owners from a Clinton-era land grab.  He can be reached at www.house.gov/rehberg.


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