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Discussion Starter #1
State Rep. Marty Causer, R-Turtlepoint, is proposing some legislation that would benefit rural Pennsylvania by calling for tax fairness.

<span style="font-weight: bold">On Wednesday, Causer reintroduced legislation that would raise the payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) amount for state-owned lands from $3.60 an acre to $6 an acre; and would call for 20 percent of total revenue from the sale of timber, oil and natural gas on most state-owned land to be returned to local governments.</span>
“These are bills that can help the region significantly,” Causer said. “I worked on the issue back in 2006. That’s the last time we increased the PILT. It seems to me it’s time to provide an increase. It could really help the local governments a lot.”

Causer said both bills would provide significant revenue for struggling municipalities, which in this region suffer from a lack of tax dollars because of huge amounts of state-owned land.

“The Commonwealth is one of the largest land owners in the region and it is not paying its fair share,” he said. “All the rest of us have to pick up the tab.”

The Pennsylvania State Land Tax Fairness Coalition is behind the effort, Causer explained. The coalition’s members include Potter County Commissioner Paul Heimel and Cameron County Commissioner Phil Jones.

“We appreciate Representative Causer continuing his strong support for our mission,” Heimel said Wednesday night. <span style="font-weight: bold">“Several other House members, as well as state Senator Joe Scarnati, have pledged their support.</span> Our goal now is to amass enough support in both chambers of the General Assembly to pass these bills, whether independently or as part of a broader tax reform package.”

Heimel explained this issue isn’t one that pits rural Pennsylvania against the larger urban areas of the state, like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

“This is more a matter of basic fairness,” Heimel said. “We have found that when lawmakers from counties where there is not much tax-exempt state-owned land see our maps demonstrating the way our tax base is gutted, they are more supportive of our plight.”

<span style="font-weight: bold">The measures are being supported by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors and the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.</span>

“These are voices that should speak loudly in Harrisburg, since they represent every county, township and school district in the state,” Heimel said. “So, we have a very strong case to make in terms of fairness and in terms of this being the will of the people. But we know that this is going to be an uphill battle, so we’re going to redouble our efforts with more one-on-one contacts with lawmakers, more maps and other exhibits, and more attention paid to making our coalition even stronger with additional partners.”

Describing what the impact of just one bill could be, Causer said the increase in PILT would be an additional $9 million annually paid into municipal coffers.

<span style="font-weight: bold">The PILT funds now come from several sources, he explained. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the state Game Commission each pay $1.20 an acre from the agencies budgets, while the remaining $2.40 per acre comes from gaming revenue.

Where the increase would come from would be subject to negotiation, he said. “Certainly oil and gas revenue would be one potential source.”</span>

He added, “The agencies certainly would not support (an increase in PILT). But the county governments are struggling and the state agencies are continuing to buy up more land. The agencies would moan and groan about paying more, but at the same time, they are the ones buying up the land.

<span style="font-weight: bold">“Cry me a river,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t have much sympathy for the agencies.</span> This is a fairness issue. If the state continues to buy up land, they can continue to pay PILT to help struggling municipalities.

“I don’t think we need any more government land,” Causer added. “If we’re going to have it, the government should pay a fair share to bring some relief to our local taxpayers.”

The second measure would re-route some funds the state already collects back to the municipalities from where resources are harvested.

“The two bills work together,” Causer said.

<span style="font-weight: bold">The second, he explained, “would provide for 20 percent of the royalties and income that come off the state land to be sent back to local municipalities. Now, all timber revenue, oil and gas revenue and royalties all go to the state government.

“Under this legislation, 20 percent would be distributed back to local governments,” Causer said.</span>


The legislator admitted that his bills will likely be modified as they move forward in consideration, but said, “I thought this was a reasonable starting point.”

More about the tax fairness coalition’s fight can be found on its website, pastatelandtaxfairness.com.



http://www.bradfordera.com/news/article_6f00a58c-ace4-11e4-a44a-ef7d8906a6f3.html
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Actually the cost to the GC would be hugely more.

Some 30 million or so more. The diversion of any gas, timber, coal revenue would cause the stop to all pitman roberton Funding tot he GC. That is the money that most habitat work, and other improvements comes from. That is the money that is a 1:3 match. Forinstance, the GC wants to upgrade a road or bridge on the GL - they put up 25% and file for a grant out of their allotment of allocated PR funds.

In just the last year, the Deer Predator study is being paid in this manner.

The GC / PSU Deer Forest study as well.


The last time this was an issue, it was 2006 under SB 642. The compromise was made to take the revenue from the gaming fund even before that legislation was final. The reason was, this would have bankrupted the GC. A state agency can not be bankrupt - they are merged. The most likely agency to merge with - DCNR and total political control by the legislature.


Causer is consistent in one thing - his hatred of the GC and the things they do.
 

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He is definately out to kill the PGC. He wants an end to the PGC & the gamelands as we know it. This to me is a personal vendetta. He or some one in his family must have been caught in a gamelaw violation & find. Think about this he wanted the PGC & PF&BC merged, since that did not happen he is trying to find another way to get rid of the Game Commission. Hunters have to stick together an let our state reps.& Senators know we are against it. The loss of pittman-robertson funds will deal a serious blow to wildlife management & hunting in this state. Lets face it our state lands benifit all Pennsylvanians. This man wants to kill the PGC period.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just to be clear.

This transcends the deer issue.

If this happens, within a few years the GC will be under the DCNR - and all that would bring with it.

Second, for those that think this is a good idea and that they can control and get the legislator to do their bidding... unless you have the cash to keep them herded up in your favor, your the first one they turn on. A politicians first love is themselves followed by money and power... and you can flip that in some situations.
 

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Some may recall his recent tenure as chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee? Pretty much little more than a continuous brow beating of both agencies, but especially Game.

One of the most clueless individuals I have ever encountered on agency issues, wildlife management in general and deer in particular.

I believe he is now chair of the AG and rural affairs Comm. or whatever it is called? This foray into state funds for local benefit is nothing new. He and other officials in the northern tier counties, have been at it for some time.

Judging by public comments on some local news blogs up there, it is becoming very popular with the voters in those areas. I raised the issue of P-R funding, zero need for local services on SF and SGL lands and some other things last week on one of the blogs. My comments never made it "to print".
 

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Marty, Marty, Marty.....The guy is PGC hater and has referred to them as land barons.

I did call him out when he was on the PCN call in program about his war against the PGC. He said it was his job a legislator.
 

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yep, this is the same combo that was circulated last year. DCNR could pay for thier PILT from the timber revenue\gas revenue that is currently going to the general fund. The PGC would be in a world of hurt. Causer will probably now recirculate the proposal of combining game\fish commissions and the amazing savings per year will be enough to pay the additional PILT (yeah right)
 

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Because the gamslands & forestlands benefit every Pennsylvanian & what services do the counties provide to these lands none. How much is going to be enough, How many camps pay realestae taxes & recieve no benifits where is that money going. All this is is an attack on the PGC an independently funded agency created by the legislature to manage our birds an mamals an authorized to buy land for hunting & wildlife to be enjoyed by all people of Pa.
 

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Mike M. said:
Because the gamslands & forestlands benefit every Pennsylvanian & what services do the counties provide to these lands none. How much is going to be enough, How many camps pay realestae taxes & recieve no benifits where is that money going. All this is is an attack on the PGC an independently funded agency created by the legislature to manage our birds an mamals an authorized to buy land for hunting & wildlife to be enjoyed by all people of Pa.
Your words,,,,,,,How many camps pay real estate taxs and recieve no benefits

My point exactly many full and part time residents pay there full tax bill yet recieve no benefits , and the pgc should do the same.
 

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Everyone, local resident or camp owner, receives some benefits from the property taxes they pay to the twp. and county. Twp. roads get maintained/plowed whether it's a road past a camp, or a local resident. County funds go to maintain emergency services for fire/ambulance dispatch, etc.

For that matter, I pay higher twp./county taxes on the camp, than what we pay on the house here at home. And both properties are roughly worth about the same at today's market prices for real estate. Difference is, the population of the twp. at camp is less than 500 people. Here at home it's over ten times that high, but our twp. budget is also 20 times higher than the twp. at camp, too.

Just more people to contribute to the pie.

School taxes are another matter, but since more than one rural school district is facing difficulties, much of them stemming from decreasing enrollments, that's another deal altogether. Northern Tioga SD already had to close one of three High Schools.

Bottom line, northern tier counties and townships do next to nothing in the way of providing services for those hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands.

So explain why they should pay more PILT fees again, other than the fact that Causer and his cronies see gas and timber money out there and want a slice for the folks at home.

That money is needed for PGC funding. DCNR revenues go directly to the state's general fund. In fact, Rendell stripped millions from DCNR and DEP budgets to balance at least two of his <span style="font-style: italic">state</span> budgets.

At a time when those opposed to gas exploration were whining about insufficient oversight by DCNR and DEP, no less.
 

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darkhollowarcher said:
Mike M. said:
Because the gamslands & forestlands benefit every Pennsylvanian & what services do the counties provide to these lands none. How much is going to be enough, How many camps pay realestae taxes & recieve no benifits where is that money going. All this is is an attack on the PGC an independently funded agency created by the legislature to manage our birds an mamals an authorized to buy land for hunting & wildlife to be enjoyed by all people of Pa.
Your words,,,,,,,How many camps pay real estate taxs and recieve no benefits

My point exactly many full and part time residents pay there full tax bill yet recieve no benefits , and the pgc should do the same.
Are those camps and residence you speak of open for free public use?
Most likely they are not.
You can't compare properties that are privately owned vs. public ownership.
 

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This is exactly the opposite of what should happen. The PILT should be totally eliminated.

1. Folks pay increased values for adjoining properties near these tracts. ir increased values for land, including seasonal camps that use little or no services, The net result is that the locals are already receiving higher taxes because of the state land and desireability of living nearby.

2 minerals aqnd timber are not produced in a vacuum and magically appear at the gas pump or stationery dept of the retail stores. Labor is envolved with drilling, mining, or cutting. That means wages and higher standards of living for the residents. Higher wages means more value to property, more earned income tax etc. ir they are already getting more taxes because of the timbering and mining.
3. The PILT results from a depression era mentality that taxes are needed. But the state lands don't use municipal services the same as a residence or camp. The state lands don't send kids to the schools or need police protection the way a dozen residences do.

On the one hand they scream poverty yet they collect increased taxes on camps that are there because of the state land.

The PILT is horse crap undeserved gifts to locals and should be eliminated. We see all kinds of figures about what hunting folks spend and put into the economies of these municipalities, yet they would conveniently like to divert our attention away from these infusions of hunting and recreational money when they come around poor mouthing for PILT. Land should be taxed according to it's consumption of local services. At that rate, the locals would owe state. it is time for the hand outs to be phased out and let the buzzards tax their own service consuming residents according to what they actually use instead of attempting to suck it out of the tax payers. These guys have a golden goose and still want to strangle it.
 

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State owned land in a rural township is a double edged sword with drawbacks and benefits; too many to delve into in depth here.
We are almost 60% public here in Stewart township, Fayette County. Public lands here were partially (largely) created through eminent domain. Many hunting camps, summer camps, and residences that were here contributing to our tax base are no more. Millions of tourists come to the area every year to enjoy the public lands, and they drive here on our roads, they get hurt and use our emergency resources. Except for less than a handful of businesses that are actually located in the township (that are not tax exempt) the benefit of the influx of people during "tourist season" does very little to help our local economy.
Other neighboring townships\boroughs have though benefited from the tourist draw and seasonal business have grown. We just have a hard time growing as much of our land in the prime locations is public and unable to be developed. Hunting is a barely a drop in the tourism bucket here in my opinion, even though we have thousands of acres of public land open to hunting.

Lands are still removed from our tax base as the public lands continue to expand.

Our township is too poor to afford road salt and treat the township roads with cinders only during the winter.

I totally agree with an increase in the PILT; especially on public lands that are being managed with the ability to be for profit through timber\mineral sales, but on the flip side I can't believe anyone with common sense would make a decision that jeopardized the PGC Pitt-Rob cash cow. If the PGC becomes short on funds I'm sure they could sell a few acres around here without difficulty.


I made the following post a few weeks ago:
The PGC pays 1.20$ per acre. The total due per acre is 3.60$ per acre. The remaining 2.40$ of the $3.60 per acre money due comes from the state gaming (gambling) fund. After the PGC takes their needed 2.40$ per acre from the gambling fund (+/- 3.4 million a year) the remainder of the gambling fund is then distributed to home owners for their "homestead exemption".
The total 3.60$ per acre in-lieu-of-taxes payment is then split 3 ways between the local municipality, school district, and county.
So, the Joe Blow pays more than the PGC is going to be subject to a by county\school district\municipality parcel-by-parcel comparison. A land owner who subjects their land to programs (with the limitations and stipulations) such as clean and green can also receive substantial tax breaks and is a common argument for comparing apples to apples in the situation of tax payment for the SGLs. I will give it a quick try and hope I am close to being correct with my generalization of the PGC vs Joe Blow:
I live in Fayette county\stewart township between SGL 51 and 111. The combined local\school\county millage rate in 2013 was 19.4
A home\property owner accessed at $95,000 would pay $1843
A property owner who enrolled in Clean and green would be accessed at $81.37 an acre for a tax payment of $1.57 an acre. I used the suggested average per acre cost for my county for forest reserve. A county may also choose to charge the tax on how the land is actually used under all of the different land classifications. I just used the average for forest reserve for simplicity. Now, an important thing to remember is that clean and green does not include the residence\buildings of the farm so even though they are getting a break on the acreage, they still contribute to the local tax base.
So, some Joe Blow guesstamates in my area…..
Joe Homeowner with house\land accessed at $95,000 = Tax $1843.
Joe Farmer with a $65,000 house\barn on 1 acre accessed at $10,000 with 50 acres enrolled clean and green = Tax $1530.
Joe Landowner with 50 acres not in clean and green accessed at $860 per acre = Tax $835
Joe Landtrust with 50 acres in clean and green = Tax $79
PGC 50 acres = payment in lieu of taxes $60
And Joe Homeowner and Joe Farmer would like to send a special thanks to the PGC for reducing their homestead exemption deduction by extracting $2.40 per acre for in-lieu-of-taxes payment before they could get their own hands in the cookie jar.

Not to open a can of worms but just FYI that Rep Causer states he plans to reintroduce HB2112 again in 2015 which would increase the payment in lieu of taxes from $3.60 to $6.00 per acre. Wonder what creative way the legislature could come up with this time to pay the PGC’s taxes?

Clean and green values:
http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/porta...e%20Values1.pdf
 

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zimmerstutzen said:
This is exactly the opposite of what should happen. The PILT should be totally eliminated.

1. Folks pay increased values for adjoining properties near these tracts. ir increased values for land, including seasonal camps that use little or no services, The net result is that the locals are already receiving higher taxes because of the state land and desireability of living nearby.

---And increase our taxes unnaturally, and the progression over time leads to the "locals" not being able to afford to live there, and the community turns into a resort town.

2 minerals aqnd timber are not produced in a vacuum and magically appear at the gas pump or stationery dept of the retail stores. Labor is envolved with drilling, mining, or cutting. That means wages and higher standards of living for the residents. Higher wages means more value to property, more earned income tax etc. ir they are already getting more taxes because of the timbering and mining.

---There would be timbering and mining taking place if the land was owned privately, with a higher tax being paid to all citizens of the state, not just the locals.

3. The PILT results from a depression era mentality that taxes are needed. But the state lands don't use municipal services the same as a residence or camp. The state lands don't send kids to the schools or need police protection the way a dozen residences do.

---No, but the state lands just inhibit our ability to grow (at least in my case).

On the one hand they scream poverty yet they collect increased taxes on camps that are there because of the state land.

--We collect tax $ by assessment value. The lot that is occupied with a hunting camp would bring in more $ with a larger full time residence. Our area had considerably MORE camps and residences before the explosion of public lands.

The PILT is horse crap undeserved gifts to locals and should be eliminated. We see all kinds of figures about what hunting folks spend and put into the economies of these municipalities, yet they would conveniently like to divert our attention away from these infusions of hunting and recreational money when they come around poor mouthing for PILT. Land should be taxed according to it's consumption of local services. At that rate, the locals would owe state. it is time for the hand outs to be phased out and let the buzzards tax their own service consuming residents according to what they actually use instead of attempting to suck it out of the tax payers. These guys have a golden goose and still want to strangle it.

----not all gamelands\public lands are in areas that have business that "thrive" from the apparent glut of hunter\tourist dollars for a portion of the year flowing into the local economy.
But I do agree with get rid of the handouts...food stamps, HUD, unemployment, industry subsides, .....and a non-hunter could easily view the current PILT rate a handout for the PGC to manage a 1.4 million acre timber lot without being taxed on the profit (disguised as a hunting preserve).
 

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Since you brought up Clean and Green, that is their next target once they get their way on PILT fees.
 

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no expert on clean and green as I am not enrolled. did the best I could with a guess of what would be paid around here. I can't envision how it would fly that the PILT would be higher than clean\green. I almost said that wouldn't make sense until I remembered there are politicians involved.
 

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According to the state township lobby, farms consume 60 cents of services for every dollar paid,. Half acre harry's consume $1.25 for every dollar they pay. It is time that the larger land owners stop being soaked for the services that the small lot residences use up. Tax properties according to the number of occupants. A 50 acre farm with only 2 residents should not pay as much as a half acre house with 8 residents. Of course it is always the same, the guy in the subdivison wants his ride paid for by the woods and fields next door.

Instead of a per acre comparison, why not tax properties on the number of bedrooms on the property? That certainly bears more relationship to the services consumed. And the PGC would owe next to nothing.

Or the state could just auction off all that property in ten acre lots. Watch the local cry the blues as the sudden glut of lots cheapens their property to the point that their homes are worth half of the amounts owed to the mortgage companies.

You want to live near unspoiled undeveloped land, PAY THE PRICE FOR THE PRIVELEDGE.
 

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But ulike the camps & others they do not provide a service to all be they residents or none residents. You, me or anyone else can access gamelands when we wish to hunt whatever game we wish as long as that as that game is in season. Secondly how come this was never an issue before. When hunters would come in droves & spend much money in these areas they took it & never thought anything about them using stateland. Secondly I am one of those camp owners, that recieve no benifits, but the property is mine for my use not the public's use. Big difference from stateland be it gamelands or forestland where anyone can access it.
 
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