Michigan Senate Passes Conservation Easement by Will Legislation
In mid-April, the Michigan State Senate passed SB 113 “Authorize Tax Break for Conservation Easement Donation in Will.” Many people wishing to conserve their land choose to place a conservation easement in their will so that the land will pass into conservation when he/she passes away. However, under current Michigan property law when land is transferred at the time of the landowner’s death property taxes are “uncap,” i.e. land transfers by will are taxed at a higher rate. Senate Bill 113 sponsored by Senator Mike Green (R-Mayville) would exempt conservation easements by will, trust, or intestate succession from the uncapping of property taxes. The bill now moves to the Michigan House Committee on Tax Policy. If you feel strongly about SB 113 please call or write your Michigan Representative.
Michigan Attorney General Protects Natural Resources Trust Fund
In late April, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued Opinion No. 7270 to weigh in on the debate on using the Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund for harbor dredging. Schuette ruled out using Trust Fund resources for dredging, saying “the voters enshrined the Trust Fund in our Constitution for a very specific purpose: to preserve and protect Michigan’s bountiful resources for generations to come. The message is straightforward — hands off the Trust Fund.” Legislation is still pending in the Michigan Senate that would open the Trust Fund up for dredging.
Michigan State Land Plan Open for Public Comment
Last year the Michigan State Legislature enacted and Governor Snyder signed into law PA 240. The act capped the amount of land the state of Michigan is allowed to own until the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) develops a strategic state landownership and management plan. Recently, Michigan DNR released a draft of the plan and opened it up for public comment. Email your comments to DNRlandplan@michigan.gov by April 30th to voice your views on the state lands plan.