From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: COALITION: No Land Trust Tax Deal! Land Rights Network American Land Rights Association PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604 Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 – E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com COALITION: No Land Trust Tax Deal! A broad coalition of 34 interest groups representing religious schools and churches, taxpayer advocates and property rights organizations have united in support of the House (HR 7) and against the Senate (S 476) version of the "Faith Based Initiative." The group has signed a letter to the House and Senate committee chairmen with jurisdiction over the legislation, objecting to a favored status that would be granted to land trusts in the Senate version of the bill. It reads in part: "The Senate proposal would provide a capital gains tax reduction of 25% to sellers of land or water rights - but only if they sell to a land trust or a government agency . . . It will do virtually nothing to benefit sellers of land, since land trusts will be able to reduce their offering price versus any other potential buyer of property . . . This proposal would place faith-based institutions, such as churches, orphanages and private schools, at a comparative disadvantage in property purchases compared to land trusts and government agencies, neither of which are faith based." The additional cost of the Senate provision is approximately $500 million. The Land Trust Alliance is pushing for a 50% reduction, costing nearly $1 billion. Signers include the National Tax Limitation Committee, the American Conservative Union, the American Association of Christian Schools, the American Land Rights Association and 30 others. Separately, the Association of Christian Schools International, joined by the National Association of Evangelicals and 18 others, signed a similar letter objecting to the "glaring inequity in the Senate version." It asks Congress to support "charitable choice" as long as there is a "level playing field" for all charitable groups "rather than a special benefit bill for land trusts." "Votes on this bill will be scored on our annual vote index,” promised Susan Kocsis of the League of Private Property Voters, which has published its annual scorecard of Congress since 1989. ACTION ITEM: Congressman Steve Pearce is circulating a letter to all members of Congress, asking them to sign it - it says that there should be NO special handouts to Land Trusts!!! CONTACT your Congressional office - tell them to "Sign Congressman Steve Pearce's letter on HR 7 - NO SPECIAL DEALS FOR LAND TRUSTS !!!” You can call every Congressman at (202) 225-3121. Or use this temporary free number : (800) 648-3516. Here is the letter to the Senate and House Committee Chairmen: October 20, 2003 Honorable William Thomas Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means 1102 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Honorable Charles Grassley Chairman, Committee on Finance 219 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Gentlemen, In the upcoming conference committee on the faith based initiative, we ask you to support the House of Representatives position (HR 7) which contains no special provisions for land trusts. We ask you to strongly oppose the Senate version (S 476) which would hand over to land trusts a new and very powerful advantage over other non-profits and the private sector. The Senate proposal would provide a capital gains tax reduction of 25% to sellers of land or water rights - but only if they sell to a land trust or a government agency. Land trusts are pushing for a 50% break, the cost of which to the treasury is scored by the Joint Committee on Taxation at just under a billion dollars over ten years. We oppose this Land Trust Tax Favoritism for numerous reasons: It will do virtually nothing to benefit sellers of land, since land trusts will be able to reduce their offering price versus any other potential buyer of property. Any tax break benefit will be handed over to land trusts in the form of a reduced sale price. Even worse, this proposal will likely discourage purchase offers from any parties except land trusts and government agencies, since all others will have to offer a premium price just to stay even. With reduced competition for property, the landowner loses. It will damage the economic and property tax base of many small and rural communities, in particular those already hosting significant public lands. It is our belief that the Charitable Giving Act is intended to encourage and benefit faith-based institutions in their efforts to extend social services to the general public. And 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 land trusts and government agencies, neither of which are faith-based. Land trusts, which are organized as tax-exempt "non-profits," already have significant advantages over private parties in the tax code. Some, such as the Nature Conservancy (assets $3.2 billion, annual budget $740 million) have grown into multibillion dollar multinational corporations with economic power greater than nearly any party they may compete against for property. This additional proposed advantage tilts the playing field too far in favor of land trusts and government agencies. This will have a negative impact on the federal budget both in terms of the tax expenditure involved and additional maintenance backlog due to adding to the federal land inventory. There are no reforms or additional accountability being asked of land trusts or government agencies in exchange for this substantial new benefit. For example, land trusts have resisted attempts to prohibit the practice of "flipping," or purchasing and quickly reselling, land to government agencies at a substantial profit. We ask you to keep this legislation focused on faith based institutions. It is inappropriate, costly and unnecessary to offer additional benefits to land trusts in this bill. Sincerely, Charles Cushman, Executive Director Paul M. Weyrich, National Chairman American Land Rights Association Coalitions for America Battle Ground, WA Washington, DC Grover Norquist, President David A. Keene, Chairman Americans for Tax Reform American Conservative Union Washington, DC Alexandria, VA John C. Holmes, Dir. of Govt. Aff. Susan Kocsis, Legislative Chairman Association of Christian Schools Intl. League of Private Property Voters Silver Spring, MD Tustin, CA Lewis Uhler, President Dr. Keith Weibe, President National Tax Limitation Committee American Association of Christian Schools Roseville, CA Chattanooga, TN Lawrence Cirignano, Executive Director Carol LaGrasse, President Catholic Alliance Property Rights Foundation of America Washington, DC Stony Creek, NY Myron Ebell, Dir. Intl. Environ. Studies James Martin, President Competitive Enterprise Institute 60 Plus Association Washington, DC Arlington, VA C. Preston Noell, III, President Rose Correira, President Tradition, Family, Property, Inc. Alliance for America McLean, VA Quincy, CA Tom DeWeese, President Henry Lamb, Exec. Vice Pres. American Policy Center Environmental Conservation Organization Warrenton, VA Hollow Rock, TN Dan Clifton, Executive Director Donald Fife, President American Shareholder Association National Assn. of Mining Districts Washington, DC Apple Valley, CA Kevin L. Kearns, President G B Oliver, Executive Director U S Business and Industry Council Paragon Foundation Washington, DC Alamorgordo, NM Ron Pearson, President Patricia Callahan, President Council for America Amer. Assn. of Small Property Owners Washington, DC Washington, DC Tom Randall, President Dan Byfield, President Winningreen, LLC American Land Foundation Chicago, IL Austin, TX Harry Valentine Dick Welsh, President Capitol Hill Prayer Alert Natl. Assn. of Reversionary Prop. Owners Washington, DC Rancho Mirage, CA Dr. Vernon Hayes Marty McElhaney Forest Landowners Association Liberty Matters, Inc. Atlanta, GA Taylor, TX Matt Bennett, President Dorothy Bartholomew, President Treekeepers, Inc. People for the USA Maryville, TN Lander, WY Dick Patton, Executive Dir. Howard Hutchinson, Exec. Dir. American Family Business Inst. Coalition of Arizona/NM Counties Washington, DC Glenwood, NM Bob Bowman, President Jon Reisman Freedom Matters Maine Public Policy Institute Madison, WI Cooper, ME Please forward this message widely. -- To unsubscribe from this mailing list; please visit http://governance.net and enter your email address.