From: alra@governance.net
Subject: 27 Congressmen:  No Handouts for Land Trusts

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 or
alra@governance.net  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

27 GOP Representatives Threaten Revolt on Faith Based Bill

Action Items Below!

In a letter delivered today to Majority Whip Roy Blunt and Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas, 27 Republican Congressmen "very strongly oppose" portions of the Senate version of the CARE Act of 2003 which favor selected environmental groups.

The signers, including Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Charles Taylor and Western Caucus Chairman Chris Cannon, plan to "reconsider our support for the bill if this unnecessary, expensive and damaging proposal is included in the Conference Report."  The letter was initially circulated by senior Ways and Means member Rep. Wally Herger of California and Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico.

They are concerned with a provision handing over a nearly $500 million tax break to land trusts such as the Nature Conservancy (assets $3.2 Billion, annual budget $740 million) which already enjoy substantial taxpayer financed subsidies.  It would grant a 25% break in capital gains taxes to sellers of land or water rights - only if they sold to a land trust or a government agency.

The letter continues, "We believe the Charitable Giving Act is intended to encourage and benefit faith–based institutions in their efforts to extend social services to the general public. Yet incredibly, this proposal would place those very faith–based institutions, such as churches, orphanages and private schools, at a comparative disadvantage in property purchases compared to some conservation groups and government agencies, which do not perform charitable acts."

It states further, "The provisions in the Senate bill will do virtually nothing to benefit sellers of land, since the beneficiaries of this tax break will be able to reduce their offering price versus any other potential buyer.  Any tax break benefit will result in a reduced sale price.  Even worse, this proposal will likely discourage purchase offers from parties who do not receive this tax break, since all others will have to offer a premium price just to stay even."

The letter expresses support for the House version, HR 7, which does not include the extraneous provisions.  Complete letter on www .landrights.org.

On October 21, a coalition of over 40 property rights, religious and taxpayer advocacy groups wrote to Chairman Thomas and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley along the same lines.  Signers included the American Land Rights Association, the American Conservative Union, the Association of Christian Schools International, Catholic Alliance, the National Tax Limitation Committee and organizations headed by conservative leaders Paul Weyrich and Grover Norquist.  Full letter and signers on www. landrights.org.

Here are the  27  CHAMPIONS  who signed the letter:
AZ - Franks, Shadegg;  CA - Doolittle, Gallegly, Herger, Hunter, Miller, Ose, Pombo;  ID - Otter;  IN - Hostettler;  IA - King;  MD - Bartlett;  MO - Akin, Graves;  NE - Terry;  NM - Pearce;  NC - Jones, Taylor;  NV - Gibbons;   NJ - Garrett;  OR - Walden;  TX - Brady, Hensarling, Thornberry;  UT - Bishop, Cannon.


The problem here is Senator Charles Grassley, who is a nice guy but badly misguided on this issue.

He is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and has been doing the Nature Conservancy's dirty work, pushing for this massive free handout for the multibillion dollar, multinational very profitable "non-profit" Nature Conservancy.

The Nature Conservancy is similar to Enron, it is the World Com of "non-profits."  It has worked all sorts of special deals for its board members, such as seizing land at a discounted price in the name of "conservation" - then reselling it to its board members for them to build mansions on!!!

**Get This - The Senate Finance Committee, the very same committee of which Grassley is chairman, is investigating the Nature Conservancy for violations of tax laws - at the same time he is trying to win a brand new tax break for them!!!

Tell  Senator Grassley to come to his senses!  Here are the key staff people who have been pushing for this Land Trust Tax Favoritism.  Tell Them:


Grassley's office phone for all of the above 202-224-3744.
fax number for all of the above  202-224-6020.

Or use this temporary toll free number to reach the Capitol Switchboard.  Then ask for Senator Grassley’s office.  The special number is (800) 648-3516.   

-NO free handouts for the Nature Conservancy!

-Investigate land trusts, don't hand over another $500 million in tax breaks to them!

-NO Land Trust Tax Favoritism in S.476 - it's faith based, not land trust based!

-Is environmentalism a new religion - why is the Nature Conservancy getting a handout?

-Nature Conservancy - $3 billion in assets - how much more do they want???

Please forward this message as widely as possible.

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