Christmas Trees, Part II.



So I’m asking Tamara Van Ryn if SPHNF supports not paying any local property taxes while offering  competition in the Christmas tree business and if this is fair.                                               

“The local community decides the issue of taxation and it really isn’t a matter of whether we decide to pay taxes.” she said. I’m not sure of what she means by this, but at least she didn’t hit me with the preservation argument and how the property is being preserved and well maintained by SPNHF. I’m tempted to ask her why the rocks estate doesn’t do Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) which many capital enterprises like power plants do in their respective communities and in this way they would be at least contributing to the local taxbase instead of taking from it which is what they are doing now.

I never got the chance to ask this question.

Instead Ms. Van Ryn started talking about Franconia Notch State Park as a comparison to the rocks estate. She stated that all of the land was placed in trust and later given to the State of New Hampshire she said that the state pays no taxes on any of this real estate and could engage in commercial activities like growing Christmas trees if it so choose. I could see her point Cannon Mountain Ski Area is in direct competition with other ski areas that are required to pay taxes. But I still think the rocks estate should either pay something or leave the Christmas tree business; I think it’s unfair that they can control this amt. of real estate, assets and now cash flow and not pay anything to the local community. The ski area example is a fair one but the nature of the ski business is different, it’s more capital intensive and the market for skiers is much larger, dynamic and several ski areas in New Hampshire developed their areas on the assumption that the state was already in the ski business examples include: Bretton Woods and the expansions at Loon Mountain. Perhaps the Town of Franconia should pursue getting some type of property tax payment from Cannon Mountain.

I think the state also needs to look at the whole current use program there is too much real estate in New Hampshre that is getting a free ride at taxpayer expense.