The Honorable Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.
President of the Senate
State House
Annapolis MD 21401

Dear Mr. President:

In accordance with Article II, Section 17 of the Maryland Constitution, I have today vetoed Senate Bill 750 - Property Tax - Tax Credits for Conservation Property.

Senate Bill 750 expands the applicability of a local government tax credit for property that is subject to a donated perpetual conservation easement by changing the date of the donation from on or after July 1, 1991 to on or after June 30, 1986.

In the analysis of Senate Bill 750 by the General Assembly's Department of Legislative Services, it was stated that the Department did not have information regarding local property tax credit programs, or the number of additional properties that would be eligible for the expanded credits. There is no public policy benefit to granting, at this time, a local property tax credit for a perpetual easement donated somewhere between 11 and 16 years ago. At the time of the donation, there was no expectation on the part of the owner that a local property tax credit would be granted. Given the indeterminate nature of this tax credit, local funds would be better spent to purchase new easements or otherwise preserve additional open space. This approach would allow local governments to preserve new acreage with a clear understanding of the fiscal impact of their decision.

We have protected over one million acres of land in Maryland and, for the first time, we are preserving more land than we are losing to development. Senate Bill 750 is one of several bills that passed this year and in prior years which, taken together, would seriously erode our efforts to preserve land for future generations. I respectfully urge future Governors and future legislatures to remain vigilant in these protection efforts and proceed cautiously in altering these programs.

For the above reasons, I have vetoed Senate Bill 750.

Parris N. Glendening