From: alra@governance.net
Subject: ALERT:  Sign the Land Trust letter!!!

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

Put a  LEASH  on the Land Trusts ! ! !

*****  IMMEDIATE  ACTION  NEEDED!!!  *****

###  ***  !!!  PLEASE  !!!  ***  ###

CALL  your  Congressman  TELL  HIM  OR  HER to:

SIGN  the "Pearce letter on HR 7 - no tax favoritism for land trusts."  See below for the text of the letter.

What does this mean?  Our allies in Congress are asking for  YOUR  HELP  to combat the Land Trust Tax Favoritism proposal.

The multibillion dollar, very profitable "non-profit" land trusts such as the Nature Conservancy (assets, $3.4 Billion, annual budget $740 million) are demanding yet another special deal in the tax code.  Here it is:  a seller of property gets a 50% capital gains tax break - ONLY if he sells to a Land Trust or a government agency!

The Land Trusts have thrown  MILLIONS  of lobbying dollars at Congress attempting to get this approved.  However, grassroots activists like  YOU  have already won most of the battles so far - in the Senate, the special deal was knocked down from 50% to 25%.  In the House of Representatives, there is  NO  special provision benefiting the Land Trusts.

And so, the Land Trusts attempt to place themselves over everyone else - churches, private schools, orphanages, private property owners - has already been slowed down considerably.

Now, within the next week or so, House and Senate leaders will have a "conference committee" meeting to work out all the differences in HR 7, including whether to knock out or include the new, special privileged status for Land Trusts.



Here is the letter  -  PLEASE  call, fax, write, email your Member of Congress and ask him or her to sign this - Congressman Steve Pearce's office is circulating this, that is who your congressman needs to contact in order to sign on:

November 5, 2003

Dear Representatives Blunt and Thomas:

We strongly support the House version of H.R. 7, the Charitable Giving Act of 2003. We very strongly oppose language included in the Senate version, S. 476, the CARE Act of 2003, which gives an unfair advantage to conservation groups over other non–profit groups and the private sector and provides an alarming incentive to remove private lands and water rights from individuals and potentially place them into federal ownership. This is in direct contravention of some of our most closely held principles as a caucus committed to private property rights, free enterprise and smaller government.

As you may know, the Senate proposal would provide a capital gains tax reduction of 25 percent to sellers of property or water rights—but only if they sell to specific groups. We understand these groups may be pushing for a 50 percent capital gains reduction, which the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates will cost about a billion dollars over ten years.

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.

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 Senate provision will exacerbate a current agricultural crisis by prohibiting young farmers and ranchers from entering into agriculture. As you know, the average age of farmers and ranchers in the United States is about 56 years old, and getting older. We must encourage young farmers and ranchers to enter into agriculture so we can provide the necessary food and fiber for the growing U.S. population. The Senate provision places a premium on selling farms and ranches to non–farm organizations, thereby discouraging our young people from entering into agriculture and reducing competition for land. With reduced competition for property, the landowner loses.

Tax–exempt “non-profits” already have significant advantages over private parties in the tax code. Some have grown into multi–billion dollar multinational corporations with economic power greater than nearly any individual or organization who may also want to purchase the same property. This additional proposed tax advantage tilts the playing field too far in favor of some groups instead of fairly offering everyone the same tax benefit.

Congress should not use the tax code to unfairly promote an advantage in land acquisitions by certain groups. If this is the intent of Congress, then it should be fully considered on its own merits. We believe most Members would reject this policy proposal, especially considering that Federal and State governments now own about 36 percent of all land in the United States, mostly in Western states. This provision will devastate rural communities and counties with significant federal lands that receive Payment In–Lieu of Taxes, or PILT, payments.

Please understand that while we wholeheartedly endorse and support many of the provisions of H.R. 7, and appreciate your and President Bush's leadership on those issues, our concerns about the impacts of this conservation tax credit are so strong and relate so fundamentally to the principles we stand for that we would have to reconsider our support for the bill if this unnecessary, expensive and damaging proposal is included in the Conference Report.


Representative Steve Pearce, New Mexico
Representative Wally Herger, California
Representative Richard Pombo, California

These three  CHAMPIONS  OF  PROPERTY  RIGHTS  are circulating this letter and aim to get as many of their colleagues to join them as possible.


TELL YOUR Member of Congress to sign "The Pearce letter on HR 7 opposing the land trust tax break."

You can call every Congressman at (202) 225-3121.

Email or fax them the letter.  Call the number above to get their fax number.

Congressman Pearce's office is handling the logistics of placing signatures on the letter. If enough members of the House of Representatives sign on, then the Land Trust Tax Favoritism in the faith-based initiative bill will be eliminated. Grassroots political activism will have won versus the powerful, multibillion dollar land trusts.

We are already winning partway. This free hand out for the land trusts is NOT in the House version of HR 7, however it is in the Senate version. So we have won halfway so far.

HELP  OUT  OUR  ALLIES  IN  CONGRESS  and Let’s Finish The Job!!

*** NOTE ***  An earlier email stated that the National Cattlemen's Beef Association actually supported this Tax Favoritism for the Land Trusts.  That is  AN  ERROR.  It is  NOT  accurate.  The LandRightsNetwork apologizes for the error.

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