This is a bad bill, and should be defeated. Private interest will decimate the wild lands of the UP, as they did before.
Excellent bill that needs to move forward and pass. Michigan does not need to be like Utah where the government owns the majority of the land. Let the citizens of the U.S. purchase this unused land and it will provide a new source of revenue and then the liberals will enough money to use for their entitlements..........for a short period of time.
Senate Bill 248 (also known as the State Land Cap Bill) was
introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson and is being championed in the state
House by Rep. Ed McBroom. Local articles from Tim Kobasic and Bill Cook,
letters to the editor from MUCC and Heart of the Lakes have all
addressed this issue of public land ownership sounding the message
and/or agenda for the MDNR. That agenda is to buy more and control more
without regard to financial considerations. I personally would like to
thank our senator and representative for their strong dedication to
improving the quality of life in the U.P. by a balanced approach. To me
this bill is nothing more than a smart budget bill stating, "it stops
here and now."
You will hear from those that oppose this bill that
if the MDNR is not able to purchase more land, hunting, trapping,
fishing, recreation, timber production, you name it, opportunities will
be lost or reduced forever. In reality the opposite is true. Most of
these organizations and/or individuals that oppose this bill benefit
financially (follow the money) from the MDNR and/or have similar
This bill simply puts a cap on how much land the state
(MDNR) can purchase and retain. Presently the state owns approximately
4.4 million acres and this bill would cap that amount at 4.65 million
acres. To put this bill in perspective lets look at just the U.P. The
land base in the U.P. is approximately 8.4 million acres. The state of
Michigan owns 2,080,252 million acres (25 percent); federal ownership is
over 1.9 million acres (23 percent); CFA ownership is 2,172,915.26
acres (26 percent); total acres under public ownership and/or varying
degrees of control in the U.P. are 6,153,167 (74 percent). So over 6
million acres (74 percent) is open to the public for hunting and
fishing, and varying degrees of recreational opportunities that are
regulated and controlled by public agencies. So this leaves approx. 26
percent as the real taxable land base.
According to the Michigan
Department of Treasury neither tax reverted (swamp tax), purchased lands
(PILT tax), or CFA taxes have been paid by the state (MDNR) in full in
the last three years. It seems that if general funds are not available
then taxes due get prorated based on the total due and money available
(where do we the people, real taxpayers, get that deal). So in other
words the MDNR continues to buy more land but can't pay their
liabilities (taxes) for that land.
Meanwhile our U.P. schools,
townships, counties and tax base takes the hit. According to financial
sources the U.P. already experiences a minus $1.5 billion GDP and a tax
loss some where between $30 million and $89.4 million depending on land
use. The GDP per 1,000 acres of forested land equals $41,000 under
public ownership, but equals $277,000 if privately owned. Another
important fact is that the MDNR remains constant in their attempt to
restrict recreational uses and access of these lands to a wide variety
of users all in the name of the environment. There have been over 600
land use restrictions adopted over the last nine years in contrast to
less than a dozen relaxed or removed restrictions.
Since the bills
introduction there have been 11 exemptions added by the bill sponsors
that basically ensure the U.P. remains as it is today with alternatives
for purchase just in case the people would want the state to buy that
special piece of property for public ownership and/or use.
closing, with current financial conditions that exist in the U.P. today,
we the people (residents of the U.P.) must consider two options: do we
want a tax base that provides opportunity to live here and keep our
children here (jobs and the services that most seem to require); or do
we eventually becomes tourists ourselves and visit the "Big Wild" on
vacation from some other state.
[quote user="admin"]Introduced in the Senate on March 9, 2011
Click here to view bill details.[/quote]