It is unfortunate that managing editor Ben Bragdon chooses to write an editorial about the Tree Growth Tax Law, (“Time to Fix Loophole in Tree-Growth Law,” April 6, 2012) when he clearly does not understand it and apparently has done a very poor job of researching it. His flawed article focuses on the “loophole” in the law, where he describes lack of oversight pertaining to the forest management plan. He states, “The problem, according to critics of the program, is that there is no one watching to see if landowners are actually following through on their promise to manage their woodlands, which comes with as much as a 95 percent tax reduction.”

Nowhere in the article does he mention the involvement of a Maine licensed forester, the person most central to the functioning of the Tree Growth Tax Law.

As for watching to see if landowners are in compliance, Bragdon fails to note a Maine licensed forester must either prepare the forest management plan, or sign off on a landowner prepared plan. By law, the property has to be inspected every 10 years by a Maine licensed forester for compliance. Beyond that, any municipal tax assessor has the law-enforced ability to view the landowner’s forest management plan, and involve Maine Forest Service foresters in evaluating the landowner’s performance. Licensed foresters that do not follow Tree Growth Tax Law rules jeopardize their license.

In spite of what Bragdon has written, there are no loopholes in the oversight of the Tree Growth Tax Law. It is my opinion that he has so mischaracterized many of the concepts in his article that its information is nearly useless.

Gregory E. Foster

Licensed Professional Forester

Raymond


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