Rep. Roy Blunt Leads the Charge for Property Rights
HOWEVER - the Nature Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land, the Land Trust Alliance and the other "non-profits" that mooch millions in tax funds each year out of your pocket, are fighting back. They are demanding even more Tax Favoritism for themselves - in addition to the grant money, huge salaries, insider trading deals and huge profits these "non-profits" already make, reselling land to government agencies.
Congressman Blunt, a long-time CHAMPION for private property rights, is taking the lead in this battle. Are you willing to help him out?
HERE is the story - ACTION ITEM below:
The United States Senate recently voted in favor of a huge new special interest tax break to benefit multi-billion dollar Land Trusts such as the Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy has over $3 Billion in assets, and over $700 Million in annual revenue.
This Tax Favoritism places private parties at a disadvantage when competing against Land Trusts and other environmental groups to purchase land. INCREDIBLY, it also places churches, private schools, charities and orphanages at a disadvantage as well - and yet it is a part of the "Faith Based Initiative," which is supposed to help these very same faith-based institutions!
S.476, Sections 106 and 107, is a 25% tax cut on capital gains of land sales - but only if the land is sold to an environmental group, or to a government agency! Private parties, or non-environmentalist charities such as churches, orphanages, private schools and social service centers are left in the dust!
AND, it includes sales of WATER RIGHTS!
Even though it is technically a tax break for the SELLER of the land, all it will benefit is the BUYER - if it is a Land Trust or government agency! The land trusts will be able to reduce their offers for land purchases because of their favored tax status compared to other potential buyers. They will be able to lower their offer by the amount of the tax break to the seller, thus eliminating nearly all of the benefit for the seller.
The House sponsor of the Faith Based Initiative, HR 7, is House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri. Blunt is a strong conservative and very supportive of private property rights - but he is under pressure.
HR 7 does NOT have the 25% Tax Favoritism that was inserted into the Senate bill. And the Big Land Trusts don't like that. They are using their billions in assets to hire lobbyists so they can continue corrupting the tax code in their favor, at the expense of everyone else - from schools and churches to private land owners.
Congressman Blunt wants to hear from you!
He has asked for letters of endorsement for HR 7 from you as individuals and from organizations to which you may belong.
Your letters should say that:
- HR 7 is much better than S.476
- the Big Land Trusts do not deserve more Tax Favoritism than they already have in the tax code
- private property owners should be on an equal playing field
- the Big Land Trusts should clean up their act, no more insider trading and special deals for their board members
- this proposed 25% discount for Land Trusts when purchasing property is unfair to all other "non-profits," including churches, private schools and orphanages, as well as private buyers of land
- this Tax Favoritism, cutting the capital gains tax 25% for the seller - ONLY if he sells to a Land Trust - actually benefits the Land Trusts because they can lower their offering price for property - so the seller will not benefit
Congressman Blunt needs to know that he has backing from conservatives across the country in order to keep this special interest provision - Land Trust Tax Favoritism - out of the legislation, and carry the battle all the way to the end. Please address faxes and emails to his staff aide, Ms. April Ponnuru.
Majority Whip Roy Blunt
Bills we are watching
Good Bills - House:
HR 7 - (Blunt, R-MO) Faith Based Initiative. HR 7 is a GOOD BILL, which has no provisions for Tax Favoritism for Land Trusts. Congressman Blunt has inserted NO special tax loopholes, NO Tax Favoritism for mulitbillion dollar corporations like The Nature Conservancy (TNC). TNC calls itself a "non-profit" but profited over $700 million last year alone from grant money from taxpayers, selling land to government agencies paid by taxpayers, and insider trading deals underwritten by tax breaks financed by taxpayers.
Tell Congressman Blunt THANK YOU for no more special preferences
for land trusts. S. 476 (see below) is the Faith Based Intitiative's
BAD BILL - it includes a special loophole to discount 25% off of capital
gains taxes for a seller of land - but only if land is sold to a land
trust or government agency! This places churches, private schools
and private property owners at a comparative disadvantage when attempting
to purchase land. This allows the land trust to cut its offering price
by nearly the amount of the tax cut, so effectively the only beneficiary
is the land trust.
THIS BILL has just been approved by the House of Representatives - the Senate will consider it now.
Please contact your Senator in SUPPORT of HR 8!
HR 353 (Duncan, R - TN) Dispose of all Bureau of Land Management lands recommended for sale back to private property by the Department of the Interior.
HR 460 (Hayworth, R-AZ) - Study the prevention of wildfires. Senate companion is S 32.
HR 701 (Paul, R-TX) Will restore to the original owners certain lands that were seized by the federal government in 1940 for military use, and not returned even though they have not been used by the feds for many years. NOTE: You may recall that HR 701 was, in the previous two congresses, previously the bill number of the "CARA" multi-billion dollar land grab bill. Now in the 108th Congress, thanks to Ron Paul, it stands for citizens getting their land back!
HR 849 (Shadegg R-AZ) To authorize the Regional Foresters to exempt tree-thinning projects, which are necessary to prevent the occurrence of wildfire likely to cause extreme harm to the forest ecosystem, from laws that give rise to legal causes of action that delay or prevent such projects.
HR 1005 (McInnis, R-CO and Gibbons, R-NV) PILT and Refuge Revenue Sharing Permanent Funding Act. Will fully compensate counties for losses in tax revenue due to federal government ownership of land (the federal government does not pay taxes to localities).
HR 1014 (Radanovich R-CA) Requires Federal land managers to communicate and cooperate with designated gateway communities, to improve these small communities' ability to participate in Federal land management planning conducted by the Forest Service and agencies of the Department of the Interior.
H.R. 1153 (Otter, R-ID) Limits to ten years the amount of time that Wilderness Study Areas can be studied. If nothing is done in ten years, then the land reverts back to previous levels of multiple use. This would close one of the loopholes that is most abused by the leftwing enviros. Right now, there is NO TIME LIMIT to how long an area can be "studied" for possible wilderness designation!
HR 1517 (Graves R-MO) Amends the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to limit the use of funds available for maintenance purposes, and prohibits land acquisition. This is an excellent bill that would use all LWCF funds for upkeep and improvement of campgrounds, bathrooms, trails, roads, headquarters and interpretive centers. It would prohibit use of the funds for land acquisition, because federal and state governments already own nearly 40% of the land in the United States.
*** IMPORTANT PRIORITY
This bill needs more cosponsors! Contact your House of Representatives
member and ask them to COSPONSOR HR 1517!
HR 1965 (Gibbons, R-NV) Proposes to amend the Endangered Species Act to limit its application on military land or private land and to provide incentives for voluntary habitat maintenance.
HR 2386 - (Simpson, R-ID) Requires congressional approval of any national monuments over 50,000 acres. This a long-needed response to the Clinton midnite monument land grabs.
Good Bills -Senate:
S 32 (Kyl, R-AZ) - Study the prevention of wildfires. House companion is HR 460.
S 96, S 169 (both Kyl, R-AZ)- The bills differ slightly, but both propose permanent repeal of the estate tax, also known as the Death Tax. House companion bills are HR 51, HR 57. Death should NOT be a taxable event!
S 369 (Thomas, R-WY) Endangered Species Act revisions. Will add a greater role for the states and require more thorough biological evidence of a species being endangered before it can be claimed as endangered. Cosponsors so far, include Sen. Hagel (R-NE) and Sen. Craig (R-ID).
S. 372 (Thomas, R-WY) Requires federal agencies to grant state and local governments "cooperating agency" status in the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements or other environmental analysis.
S 511 (Binghaman, D-NM) and Ensign, R-NV) Full payment of PILT funds. Companion bill to HR 1005.
Bad Bills - House:
HR 37 (Boehlert R-NY) - Elevate the Environmental Protection Agency to Cabinet status. This bill rewards bad behavior! It elevates the EPA when the EPA dedicates far more effort to protecting its power than protecting the environment.
HR 119 (Hefley, R-CO) The Invasive Species Act. If you think the Endangered Species Act is a dangerous attack on private property rights, wait till you see this one! There is a problem with some harmful plants and animals in many areas of the United States. The federal government already has the authority to deal with them, when there is enough funding. However, HR 119 proposes a massive new Invasive Species bureaucracy that will be able to regulate everything from grass on your front lawn to putting greens on golf courses, to the baby's breath flowers in prom corsages and wedding arrangements! And there are NO protections for private property rights.
HR 266 (Ehlers, R-MI) National Invasive Species Council Act. Creates an entirely new federal bureaucracy and establishes an Invasive Species Council. Private citizens are prohibited from being members of the council - only federal employees are permitted. "Invasive species" are not native to an area - like most human beings, for example. Crazy, but true - watch out for this one!
HR 524 (Frelinghuysen, R-NJ) - "Crossroads of the Revolution" National Heritage Area - Land Grab extending across much of central and northern New Jersey.
HR 652 (Andrews D-NJ) - To make the Wildlands Project into official government policy - the politically correct name is National Forest Ecosystem Protection Program. Ruin communities in small towns and rural areas through federal land use regulation.
HR 1051 (Bereuter R-NE) Would add land acquisition authority to nine more trails in the National Trails system. This would reward the federal government's bad behavior in seizing property from innocent people and paying them only a few cents per dollar of value.
HR 1130 (Holt, D-NJ) Ban snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park. This may sound crazy, but don't laugh - it has 134 cosponsors, mostly clueless northeastern leftists, like Holt.
HR 1472 (Gallegly, R-CA) "Don't feed the bears Act." Animal rights legislation. Anti-hunting and anti-wildlife management bill that proposes to interfere with standard bear management practices in many states.
HR 1964 (Frelinghuysen, R-NJ) Highlands Stewardship Area Act. Two million acre combined zoning control and land acquisition extending over four states - Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
HR 2036 (Isakson, R-GA) Open Space Preservation and Conservation Act. This would permit $25 BILLION DOLLARS to be used for permanent conservation easements, giving the Nature Conservancy and other Land Trusts and government agencies co-ownership in MILLIONS of acres of land. The solution to keeping agricultural and other rural land in family hands is to repeal the inheritance tax - instead, this bill would hand over BILLIONS to powerful land trusts and government agencies to expand their power!
HR 2416 (McGovern, D-MA) Companion bill is S.546, an anti-rockhounding bill, titled the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act. Places severe penalties on recreational rockhounding, would permit only "experts" to disturb public land surfaces.
This is a bill promoted by the cultural and scientific elitists who want the public lands for themselves, and retirees and families unable to find rocks and sell and exchange them at fairs and rock shows. Allows for seizure of private vehicles, camping equipment and anything else the government wants to grab for even minor violations. This bill assumes that Big Brother Government has all the answers, even though some of the greatest discoveries of dinosaurs and pre-recorded history has been done by private individuals.
Bad Bils - Senate:
S. 230 (Corzine D-NJ) same as HR 524, Heritage Area Land Grab.
S. 324 (Levin D-MI) National Trail Land Acquisition Authority. Companion land grab legislation to HR 1051.
S. 476 (Grassley, R-IA) is the Faith Based Intitiative's BAD BILL - it includes a special loophole to discount 25% off of capital gains taxes for a seller of land - but only if land is sold to a land trust or government agency! This places churches, private schools and private property owners at a comparative disadvantage when attempting to purchase land. This allows the land trust to cut its offering price by nearly the amount of the tax cut, so effectively the only beneficiary is the land trust. The GOOD BILL is HR 7.
S. 525 (Levin, D-MI) Aquatic Invasive Species Act. Massive land grab with a price tag of $170 million per year. This CLAIMS to be legislation to keep foreign species out of American waters by regulating oceangoing ships. HOWEVER, it ALSO proposes to regulate ALL FRESH WATER in the entire United States, whether or not it is deep or wide enough for a boat or ship! It also proposes criminal penalties for violations of any regulations resulting from the bill - before the regulations are even drawn up!!! This is one of several disasters in the making moving under the cover of invasive species.
S. 536 (DeWine, R-OH) Creates a National Invasive Species Council. Companion bill to HR 266. DeWine has a lengthy record of attacking private property rights, including attempting to force farmers in the proposed Darby Refuge area out of their homes. DeWine was also a leading supporter of the massive, unprecedented CARA Land Grab.
S 546 (Akaka, D-HI) Anti-rockhounding bill titled the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act. Places severe penalties on recreational rockhounding, would permit only "experts" to disturb public land surfaces. Allows for seizure of private vehicles, camping equipment and anything else the government wants to grab for even minor violations. This bill assumes that Big Brother Government has all the answers, even though some of the greatest discoveries of dinosaurs and pre-recorded history has been done by private individuals.
S 635 (Hatch, R-UT) Massive expansion of federal power called the Pioneer National Historic Trails Studies Act. Requires studies of SIXTY-FOUR trails in the central and western United States to determine if the federal government should acquire land and place viewshed restrictions on surrounding private property. And, just in case the bill misses any land that the feds want to grab, there is an additional catchall provision that says "other routes that the Interior Secretary considers appropriate" in addition to the sixty four routes already listed.
S. 651 (Allard R-CO) National Trails Land Acquisition Act. Expands the federal government's power to seize property along arbitrarily drawn "trails." Also has no restrictions against federal agencies claiming authority over adjacent private property as "buffer zones" and claiming "viewshed restrictions" over everything that can be seen from a trail!
S. 999 (Corzine, D-NJ) Companion bill to HR 1964, two million acre, four state land grab.
Editor's note: Mike Hardiman was Policy Director for Congressman,
now Resources Committee Chairman, Richard Pombo from 1993 to 1999.
He is President of Hardiman Consulting, a lobbying and public relations
firm based in Washington, DC. He is one of the most knowledgable and
effective lobbyists in Washington on property rights and resource
use issues. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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