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Old 03-14-2015, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
8,848 posts, read 13,020,354 times
Reputation: 7601

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When Domtar wanted to buy the GP mill in Woodland they said that GP first had to get rid of their 425,000 acres of forest. GP was incredulous, but Domtar said they were not going to make the same mistake that Mead made over in Rumford. Mead bought the mill in Rumford, owned if for six months and put it up for sale. It ws a good mill with good people, a good labor agreement and a good product mix. The problem that Mead ran into was LURC, the Maine Forest Service and the DEP. The Rumford mill has had several owners since then.

GP found some guys over in Lyme, NH called Typhoon LLC. They bought the 425,000 acres and Domtar bought the mill. The five guys turned around and a few weeks later they sold the 425,000 acres to Hancock Trust. That is not the fine Maine family that runs Hancock Lumber. The trust is the retirement and investment arm of Yale University. Hancock immediately put a conservation easement on over 99% of the land. That amount of land is 19 whole townships. It cut the economic heart out of Washington County. That is the type of "non profit" that should be taxed. The local church or snowmobile clubhouse might not be taxed. The bill before the legislature would allow towns or counties to tax non-profits. They would not necessarily be taxed. It would be up to the town.
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Old 03-14-2015, 12:05 PM
 
1,337 posts, read 1,401,177 times
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And that creates a potential Constitutional problem and a ton of lawsuits. GNN gave a 500' "easement" on the West Branch from Seboomook to below Debsconeag Falls. It amounted to virtually nothing given up within the shoreland zone, but did amount to a behemoth tax break. I suppose what's sauce for the goose . . . but that type of analysis simply doesn't comport with the political regimen.

Blaming the old GP land going into Hancock Trust for the "cutting the economic heart out of Washington County" is laughable. BOTH GP and Domtar's stock jumped when the sale was made. Neither could care a whit about Washington County as long as the multinational stockholders made money. What CAUSED the paper companies to do what they did in the 1990's to date were the very large tax breaks and financial incentives obtained through the easements. Most of the land is still working forest - if there were any demand for the fiber. NONE of the paper companies would even contemplate selling you, for example, 20 acres off the studmill road to build a sawmill. The change was all about making money for stockholders, few, if any of whom were in Maine. Absolutely nothing to do with LURC, DEP or Maine Forest Service enforcing rules to protect watersheds (shoreland zoning) or wildlife (deer wintering areas). The analysis spouted these many years that "conservation" is to blame for eviscerating the Washington County economy is simply deluded. There's been no "Washington County economy" for as long as I can remember. Most of the lands under non-development easement are still productive timberland.
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
8,848 posts, read 13,020,354 times
Reputation: 7601
Back around 1920, Ansel Smith built his Half Way House on the West Branch of the Penobscot. It was on the south side of the river about half way between Lobster Stream and Chesuncook Lake. Loggers stayed there along with fishermen and hunters depending on the time of year. Such places, along with the Boom House at the mouth of the West Branch are part of our heritage. I stood on the front porch of Smith's Half Way House. It was abandoned and falling into ruin when I stood there. I camped on the front lawn of the Boom House.

We were camped at Little Claw on Lobster Lake some years ago when a skiff planed around the point and ran at full throttle right to the beach. A man jumped out and started walking around our campsite. I asked what he thought he was doing. He had committed several gross breached of traditional etiquette simply by his arrival. In a strong New Jersey accent he said he was inspecting our campsite. I told him we had already inspected our campsite and it did not need further inspection. He said he was a "corridor ranger" and we were camped in his corridor. I explained to him that Maine people had been camping at this campsite for thousands of years and we have never needed anybody from New Jersey to tell us how to do it.

The arrogance of these people distresses those of us who have taken care of the land and lakes for centuries. I got an award from the DEP for measuring the water quality in some Maine lakes for many years. In many lakes the camp owners just run a plastic pipe into the lake for their water supply. They put it on a cement block or rock so the pipe does not suck up sand. The individual landowners in Maine have personal interest in maintaining our heritage and quality of live. Government intrusion on that and conservation easements do not preserve our heritage. They intrude on it. Conservation easements contaminate the title to land forever. They are like a nuclear weapon that renders land uninhabitable. We are trying to deflect further loss of our heritage and land rights in Maine. To that end, towns are resolving to oppose such insults to our heritage:

"The People of the Town of Lee

Resolve on Town Meeting Night;

We, the People of the Town of Lee oppose any new national park or federal designation of land whatsoever in Maine north of Route 9 or the Androscoggin River.*

Done this Sixteenth Day of March, 2015"

We encourage other towns to do the same.
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:03 AM
 
1,337 posts, read 1,401,177 times
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So it's all or nothing? I put in at Chesuncook back around 1999, surveyed the map, and picked an island that showed a picnic table/campsite. Straight out from the landing. Rough as hell. We got set up after picking up a couple salmon and some guy in uniform showed up and 1.) demanded money and 2.) told us we couldn't camp there, even though there was a fire ring and picnic table. "Not an official campsite". It was about an hour before dark. I asked about the other site on the next island up and he said it was occupied, but we still had to move. We had done the Allagash from Churchill to Umsaskis, so we had already paid the ransom at 6 mile to simply get through the gate and thought we were all set. He didn't get any money and I wasn't going to launch the boat again after getting all set up in the wind and waves that had come up. He buggerd off without any money and we stayed at the campsite 2 nights.

Most of the Conservation easements preclude massive shoreline development or division of large tracts, and little more, as with GNN's tax scam "donation" of the West Branch corridor easement. You can thank them for your "Ranger" friend.

It is always very curious to me, humorous, actually, when the drum beater "freedom" crowd attempts to limit what someone can do with their land, yet follows blindly when highly monied interests want to clearcut and pave a 500' to 2000', fenced, zero access, 13,000 acre swath from Canada to Canada, ultimately to be owned by, oh, Chinese interests. Ironically hysterical.
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Old 03-20-2015, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
27,767 posts, read 43,615,022 times
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What percentage of non-profits own real estate valued at over $500k?

I think that most churches, animal rescues and homeless shelters would easily slide under this, so it would not apply to them.
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Old 03-20-2015, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Bradley, Maine
266 posts, read 239,984 times
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It may be true that smaller nonprofits are under the limit, but the Bangor Homeless Shelter, for instance, does not. There are really quite a few nonprofits that would be affected.
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Old 03-28-2015, 08:38 AM
 
1,337 posts, read 1,401,177 times
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Those that fall over the 500K mark that couldn't swing it would simply shut down and pass the cost (Bangor Homeless shelter) onto the taxpayers. The hospitals, of course, would simply pass the expense on to their patients.

This is all a HUGE reallocation of wealth, once again upward. Cut income taxes (or eliminate), the wealthiest benefit the most. The rest get a little more disposable income, which they will turn around and spend at Walmart, to the benefit of the stockholders. They could surprise everyone and save and invest it, but is that likely? By throwing the "you can tax nonprofits" bone, Lepage justifies taking away revenue sharing with municipalities so he can give the savings to Maine's wealthiest, who, in turn, will use it to benefit the rest of us (he said, facetiously). Eliminate estate tax on estates over $2MM - we all need that desperately - eliminate income tax, and drop the burden squarely on nonprofits and the municipal real estate tax. Great idea.
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Old 03-28-2015, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
8,848 posts, read 13,020,354 times
Reputation: 7601
The towns of Carroll and Springfield held their town meetings today. Carroll voted 100% to oppose any federal park or land acquisition in Northern Maine. Springfield voted 42 against any park and 4 not in favor of opposing the park. Everybody present voted. The wording was the same as the town above.

It isn't law. It binds nobody. It is simply a sentiment against and more federal land grabs in Northern Maine. Many other towns who have not yet had their town meetings will do the same. It is becoming more difficult to staff town offices and local fire departments. People are scrambling to earn a living, but it is important for good people to make the sacrifice and stand for those local offices. If we don't, the greens will step up to fill those offices. Towns who have strongly voted against any national park or designations have had greens who do not have the same values as the towns elected or appointed to town positions.

The greens then become spokesmen within the town and work against the town they supposedly represent. Very wealthy green groups with millions of dollars to play with have slick advertising that attempt to delude the public into believing that the tide is turning in favor of federal takeovers in Northern Maine. It isn't true. The reason the environmental industry like Northern Maine so much is that we landowners have taken such good care of it for the last few hundred years.
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:03 AM
 
Location: Maine
2,095 posts, read 1,304,179 times
Reputation: 3865
I'm all in favor of the Gov's new tax plan, the old way is not working, we need to change thing up, try something new.
There is no sense in listening to the lefty's they have there marching orders, "oppose anything Lepage say's" it's funny because this is the same thing they decry the repubs doing in DC with Obama.

What the Governor should have done was spread a rumor that the dems wanted this new tax policy and he was dead set against it, the dems and lefty's would go to any length to vote it in.



bill
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:32 AM
 
1,337 posts, read 1,401,177 times
Reputation: 1469
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Maine Land Man View Post
The towns of Carroll and Springfield held their town meetings today. Carroll voted 100% to oppose any federal park or land acquisition in Northern Maine. Springfield voted 42 against any park and 4 not in favor of opposing the park. Everybody present voted. The wording was the same as the town above.

It isn't law. It binds nobody. It is simply a sentiment against and more federal land grabs in Northern Maine. Many other towns who have not yet had their town meetings will do the same. It is becoming more difficult to staff town offices and local fire departments. People are scrambling to earn a living, but it is important for good people to make the sacrifice and stand for those local offices. If we don't, the greens will step up to fill those offices. Towns who have strongly voted against any national park or designations have had greens who do not have the same values as the towns elected or appointed to town positions.

The greens then become spokesmen within the town and work against the town they supposedly represent. Very wealthy green groups with millions of dollars to play with have slick advertising that attempt to delude the public into believing that the tide is turning in favor of federal takeovers in Northern Maine. It isn't true. The reason the environmental industry like Northern Maine so much is that we landowners have taken such good care of it for the last few hundred years.
Now THAT'S funny! And I shouldn't have to explain any more than throw out the phrase "Greens step up to fill those offices." Like they weren't elected. "Taken good care of it." You mean cultivating gray birch, raspberry and fir thickets? Herbie chomping it up into 40 acre subdivisions? Who is "we" you and that manure in yer pocket? You know, very, very wealthy industrialists spend billions to be able to ruin our National resources, but that's O.K., that's got nothing to do with it. You're more than happy to give Peter Vigue 13,000 acres to clearcut, pave and fence with razor wire, then sell to China, and call the municipalities that voted against it "aging hippies." Making boogie men out of people who don't believe in the "freedom" of taking a dump on your neighbor's lawn and demanding payment for the fertilizing service is pretty funny. But I'm guessing the fix is already in on the E-W highway.

None of what you've said has anything to do with the real issue of the NP proposal. Your colloquy is all about politics. No analysis of regional economics with no park versus regional economics with park. Just more of the same. Try explaining the regional benefit, with 2 permanently dead mills nearby - and look what your multinational corporate heroes did with Bucksport the other day. Sold for scrap almost overnight one of the most modern mills in Maine. So what's the analysis? Explain why not a National Park (and try to avoid politics)? Right now, the guides aren't doing GREAT because the deer herd up there is slack and going to get slacker after this winter. Lodges are shutting down. The demand for spruce-fir (primarily fir) fiber isn't there any more. And that's what the paper companies left with clearcutting - giant fir, gray birch and alder thickets. Do you see a lumber demand for small fir?

I've thrown the arguments for timber production, logging jobs, private property taxation and economics at the pro-Park people, since I'm not yet convinced that a National Park in that area is going to be any appreciable draw. I know the East Branch and all the way up Wassattaquoik. I don't see it, but you're changing my mind with the negativity.

I'm not biting on the Lepage tax plan. That's a pure and simple reallocation of wealth upward that will increase taxes for everyone except to the top tier.
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