MI State Sen. Tom Casperson Challenges Nature Conservancy Racket

Those well-compensated executive directors, et al., at these left-leaning land conservancies, who do little meaningful work and often don't practice what they preach, just got their artificial little worlds rocked:

"A state senator who introduced Michigan’s controversial land cap law now wants nonprofit land conservancies to pay property taxes -- unless they provide unlimited public access and allow motorized vehicles in privately owned nature preserves.

Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, said he has drafted legislation that could ensure public access to tens of thousands of acres of private natural areas owned by groups like The Nature Conservancy.

'This will provide more recreation opportunities and ensure residents get some benefit from their communities receiving fewer tax dollars due to the tax exemption in current law,' Casperson said."

This article notes why this all came about: "A bill that would require land conservancies such as the Little Traverse Conservancy to either pay property tax on their nature preserves or open the preserves to all uses started because of a dogsled race.

The race, which ran from Marquette to Newberry, would have had to cross land owned by The Nature Conservancy, an international nonprofit land conservancy with a Lansing chapter.

'(The Nature Conservancy) wanted the racers to carry $5 million worth of liability,' said Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba). 'The dogsled race would have been useless, they couldn't spend that much for liability. Newberry was the one who brought it to our attention, saying we need those tourism dollars into our area, and they couldn't see the logic in not allowing the dogsledders across it.'

Casperson said when he looked into the situation, he found that the conservancy, like other nonprofit organizations, isn't required to pay property taxes on the land it owns."

FYI: The Nature Conservancy's motto is "protecting nature, preserving life."

One could add, "and not paying their fair share."

KUTGW Senator Casperson!


Kenneth said...

Sorry, this guy sounds like a pseudo-populist hustler. The sort of Rush Limbaugh type mope who never uses the world environmental with appending the word "extremist".

BTW, if there are deeded conservation restrictions in place, the property should have very low economic value and any property tax should also be minimal.

How about taxing churches and other nonprofits on their real estate which does have economic value? Would he be in favor of that?

TCC said...

Good question about the taxing of churches and nonprofits and, I would add, schools ... All those entities should be also be discussed in such a debate.

Kenneth said...

Absolutely, especially schools ;-)

It is easy to take shots (figuratively speaking) at elitist environmental organizations but in my area most conservation property is held my small, local trusts that are low-budget, unpaid operations run by real members of the community.

TCC said...

That's refreshing as it's the opposite in northern Michigan.

Plus the MI Department of Natural Resources also is a strong, rather authoritarian, presence here.

Kenneth said...

One of the few healthy changes I see in western Massachusetts is more interest in local organization and initiative. Though, sadly, the local conservation folk seem to mostly hold "progressive" views.