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Bisso on state land purchases
August 10, 2012 - Chris Morris
The following press release was issued by Assembly candidate Karen Bisso earlier this week. We'll have a story on this release in today's newspaper and online later this morning.
There are a few issues that need to be addressed in this statement. For one, the state does pay taxes on Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondack and Catskill parks, and in the Nature Conservancy's case, it didn't receive any state grants to buy the land, although a campaign staffer for Bisso insisted the release wasn't targeting the Nature Conservancy specifically.
I'll let you read Bisso's statement and draw your own conclusions:
Would you vote for Bernie Madoff for Governor? Would you support a con man for office? Would you intentionally invest your money into a scam where in the end you knew you would be ripped off? Well guess what? If you live in New York and you pay taxes, you have done all of the above. New York is involved in not only the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, but also the largest acquisition of private property in U.S. history.
The way the scam works is this. There are environmental groups with nice names like the “Nature Conservancy”, or “Thousand Island Land Trust”. These groups go out and make offers on large tracts of land. Once the offer is accepted, they apply for a grant from New York State to purchase the property. After they own the property, they then sell New York an “easement” which these groups then in turn use to buy another piece of property. And again sell an easement. Then, after a couple of years, they sell the property to New York, usually at a profit.
Now to the scheme. The state gives a grant with our money (tax dollars) to an organization which in turn sells us an easement….. to property that we just bought. That property then gets a reduced tax rate which means that we, the tax payers, have to pay higher taxes to make up both the difference in the revenue that is lost, and to fund future purchases.
But how can they guarantee there will be more land to buy? Well, that is step two of the scheme. Every time the State buys land, it takes it off the tax rolls. This in turn drives the taxes up on privately owned property. This motivates the owners to sell. Unfortunately, no one wants to buy because the taxes are too high; No one except the groups who get lower taxes and rebates on their purchases, which are actually financed by the taxpayers.
Now you’re probably asking what elected official in their right mind would get involved in this? Welcome to step three. The organizations buy the land with free money. They then sell the land that we bought back to us, for a pure profit. Also, these organizations are tax exempt, so they pay no capital gains. Therefore, since their money is sheltered, they then donate huge sums to the campaign coffers of the corrupt officials who thought the scheme up in the first place.
However, the silver lining is that this land will be preserved for future generations. Actually, NO! Welcome to step four. Not all the money goes to corrupt officials. Another large portion goes to attorney’s who sue the state to keep the taxpayers from hunting, logging, snowmobiling, and four wheeling, on the land that we paid for twice in the first place.
So when you answered “No,” to the first question, “Would you vote for these people?” the sad truth is, if you vote for an incumbent for State office this year, you probably will be.
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