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Governor's Budget Targets Nonprofits

Governor LePage’s proposed 2016/2017 biennial budget includes provisions that will negatively impact the work of Maine’s land trusts and the state’s broader nonprofit community.

Your Input Needed on Land Trust Standards & Practices

The Land Trust Alliance is currently leading a collaborative process to revise Land Trust Standards and Practices to reflect changes in the legal and operational environment of the land trust community over the past 10 years.

Maine Court Ruling Clarifies that Land Trusts are Eligible for Property Tax Exemption

We are very pleased to share with you the news that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled yesterday that land conservation is a charitable purpose under the Maine Property Tax Exemption statute. The ruling settles a dispute between the Town of Limington and Francis Small Heritage Trust (FSHT) regarding the property tax exempt eligibility of FSHT’s preserves.

Two Bad Bills Threaten Maine Land Trusts

There is growing and troubling support in Augusta for two bills that would end tax exemption eligibility for land trusts in Maine: LD 727 and LD 1521 (details below). In the past, similar bills have been unanimously defeated in committee, but this week LD 727 received support from four members of the Taxation Committee.

State Legislature Affirms Land Trust Tax Exemption

Our efforts paid off! Over the past two days, both bodies of the Maine Legislature considered LD 727, a bill that called for the elimination of tax exemption eligibility for land trusts. Fortunately, both the House and Senate strongly opposed the measure.

Kennebec Estuary Land Trust wins Best of Maine Award

The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT), headquartered in Bath, has won Down East magazine’s 2017 “Readers’ Choice” award as “Best Land Trust” in Maine. Held annually, the magazine’s competition solicits nominations from readers; winners are selected by thousands of Down East readers.

Land Conservation Loses a Friend

A Primer on Property Tax Procedural Choices

Ever since Maine land trusts first incorporated a few decades ago, the question of property tax exemption for their fee lands has remained unresolved. Although most municipalities routinely grant exemption, a few have resisted, and the lack of crystal clear statutory or case law has given towns justification for such resistance. It's possible that we will have clear case law on the matter soon, if the Town of Limington appeals the Superior Court's decision in favor of exemption in its case against Francis Small Heritage Trust.

Judge Rules in Favor of Land Trust in Property Tax Exemption Case

Francis Small Heritage Trust (FSHT) has won their bid for property tax exemption in the Superior Court in York County. Judge Paul A. Fritzsche held that land trusts, like Francis Small Heritage Trust, are eligible for property tax exemption under state law.

Changes to Maine Tree Growth and Open Space Tax Laws

Last Spring, the Maine Legislature enacted significant changes to the Tree Growth and Open Space property tax programs when it passed 2012 Public Law Chapter 618 (L.D. 1138). The bill took effect on August 1, 2012, and has certain provisions that might affect land trusts, as well as landowners whose property is subject to a conservation easement.

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