Friends, I urge you to contact Governor Granholm and ask her to veto House Bill 4702. For more information on this damaging piece of legislation, visit http://www.mymichigan.org/article.php?id=207. The governor’s contact information is below:
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Conan Smith
Tuesday, March 30, 2004 Land Programs Director
“A Speculator’s Dream Come True”
Legislature Sends Developer Tax Cut to the Governor
LANSING– Today the Legislature sent House Bill 4702 to Governor Granholm, asking her to approve tax relief for agricultural landholders who don’t want to stay in farming. However, the state’s current system isn’t broken – yet – according to the Michigan Environmental Council.
“If Governor Granholm signs this law, it will be a speculator’s dream come true,” said Conan Smith, Land Programs Director at the Michigan Environmental Council. “There is only one type of landholder who benefits from this proposal – and it ain’t the long-term farmer.”
The bill creates a new process for assessing farmland that extends tax relief previously targeted at farmers to any agricultural landholder. If a developer buys farmland and holds it for several years, waiting for development pressures to drive the land’s value up, under HB 4702 he or she would reap significant tax benefits for speculating – benefits that until this point were only offered in exchange for farmland preservation.
Currently, tax relief is available to any farmer in Michigan in exchange for a commitment to continue farming for at least seven years. If the farmer chooses to develop his or her land before that time is up, he or she owes the state a recapture of the tax benefit received.
“The current process rewards farmers who are helping the state to achieve its farmland preservation goals with a very targeted tax cut, “Smith said. “HB 4702 undermines that balanced relationship, jeopardizing our farmland protection program.”
Both the House and Senate rebuffed attempts to attach a land conversion fee to the bill that would have deterred land speculation and provided more than $20M annually for state and local purchase of development rights programs.
“The Legislature clearly signaled that their interest was in helping speculators, not farmers,” Smith said. “Now it’s up to Governor Granholm to measure whether a tax cut for developers is a higher priority than our farmland and open space program. I for one hope she sends this bill back to the drawing board.”
Land Programs Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912