To the Editor:
The $400 million bonded (borrowed) for greenspace and brownfield cleanup is advertised as not increasing taxes. The full story is the entire $400 million and interest will need to be paid by current taxes or new taxes enacted in the future if needed to balance the budget. The Legislative Budget Office estimates that if paid off over 20 years, the total cost will be $611 million. Furthermore, the $400 million can be reissued, without a vote of the people, as it is retired and the fund would operate in perpetuity.
Embedded in the bill is the funding to purchase property rights and hold them in conservation easements. The government will pay landowners for the development rights on their land and hold the easements forever, thereby preventing any home, commercial or industrial development on this land in perpetuity.
By removing land from the market for housing and other development it will raise the cost of remaining properties and affect all future home-builders and businesses. A town surrounded by farms with conservation easements will have to leap-frog to other property for new homes assuming it is even available.
Eventually, any land purchase will involve checking with the department of agriculture to establish what property rights are left on the tract before buying. Logging, mining and oil rights are all potential rights lost depending upon the easement language.
Nationalizing our land rights is a dangerous course to pursue. It is not justified by the intent to help an industry. In the long run, it cannot save agriculture if the industry is unprofitable, instead it will hold land available for the few remaining ‘real’ megafarms or government agencies. This is socialism purchased with taxes. I strongly encourage you to vote NO on Issue 1.