9/12/2003

From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Grassroots Win!!!  No Land Trust Scam!


Land Rights Network
American Land Rights 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



HUGE  WIN  FOR  PRIVATE  PROPERTY  RIGHTS!!!!!

SOMETIMES,  DEMOCRACY  WORKS ! ! ! ! ! ! !

This past week, the House of Representatives tax-writing committee, the Ways and Means Committee, debated and approved  HR 7, which is President Bush's Faith Based Initiative proposal.

Despite a multi-million dollar lobbying effort by the powerful Land Trusts, the Ways and Means Committee struck out of  HR 7 a special provision that would have handed over a  BILLION  DOLLAR  tax loophole to the Land Trusts.

***  SEE  ACTION  ITEMS  BELOW  ***  PLEASE  THANK  our friends in Congress such as Rep. Wally Herger, Rep. Roy Blunt and Rep. Bill Thomas who spoke out for fiscal responsibility and private property rights!

Herger, Blunt and Thomas listened to  YOU  and thousands of others who believe that the budget deficit is already huge, and a billion dollar handout to the gigantic, wealthy Land Trusts is unnecessary and an attack against private property rights.

HERE  is what happened:

Multi-billion dollar "non-profit" corporations such as the Nature Conservancy (assets $3.2 BILLION, annual budget $750 MILLION) already have many special advantages in the tax code, such as donations to them being tax deductible.  However, they were demanding even more.

The Land Trusts were demanding a Land Trust Amendment in HR 7 that would discount 50% off of capital gains taxes for a seller of land - BUT - only if the land is sold to a Land Trust or government agency!  If the land is sold to anyone else, forget it - no tax break.

The only ones who will benefit from this special loophole are Land Trusts,  NOT  the seller of the land.  This proposal will severely devalue private property.  It allows Land Trusts and government agencies to cut their offering price for land, because no other entity will be able to compete with a 50% capital gains tax cut available  ONLY  if land is sold to them.  The landowner loses out with devalued property.  Effectively the only beneficiary is the Land Trust!

Representative Wally Herger of California, a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, took the lead in rallying opposition to this Tax Favoritism for already-powerful Land Trusts.  Herger and the bill's sponsor, Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, both spoke with the Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Representative Bill Thomas of California.

Chairman Thomas agreed to keep the Land Trust Amendment out of HR 7 when he presented the bill to the committee.  The committee members agreed with the Chairman, and the bill was voted out of committee without any significant changes.  Basically, the issue was settled before the committee meeting was held, and the Ways and Means members ratified Chairman Thomas's decision in support of private property rights.

GRASSROOTS  ACTIVISTS  like  YOU  made a  HUGE  difference!

ACTION  ITEM  -  THANK  OUR  CHAMPIONS:

Rep. Wally Herger is a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee.  He is a long-time Champion for private property rights, and led the fight for us on Ways and Means.  PLEASE  THANK  HIM  and let him know how much we appreciate all his good work.  Contact Derek Harley - derek.harley@mail.house.gov

Committee Chairman Bill Thomas has been named a Champion of Property Rights for ten straight years by the League of Private Property Voters.  As he has many times before, he did the right thing and protected private property rights.  THANK  HIM  (202) 225-2915  -- FAX (202) 225-8798  E-mail: bill.Thomas@mail.house.gov

Rep. Roy Blunt is a senior member of the House Republican Leadership.  He sounded the initial warning bell on this Land Trust Tax Scam and has been working hard to keep HR 7, the Faith Based Initiative bill, focused on helping social service agencies, not Multibillion Dollar Land Trusts.  THANK   HIM  by contacting:  April Ponnuru - april.ponnuru@mail.house.gov

WARNING  -

GOOD  NEWS  -  The House of Representatives is acting in support of private property rights.

HOWEVER,  BAD  NEWS  - The United States Senate version of the Faith Based bill, called S 476,  DOES  INCLUDE  the Land Trust tax loophole!

The Senate approved its version of the bill a few months ago.  So, within a couple of weeks, there will be a "conference committee" between the Senate and House to work out the many differences between the House version, numbered HR 7, and the Senate version, numbered S 476.

BE  PREPARED!!!  It will take more grassroots activism for the House version of the bill to prevail over the Land Trust Tax Favoritism in the Senate version.

BUT  FOR  NOW,  THANK  our Champions in the House of Representatives, Representatives Wally Herger, Roy Blunt and Bill Thomas!



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