Aug. 9, 2013: Land-owning corporations should allow hunting
Editor:I read the Gazette article saying DNR Director Frank Jezioro outlined the trend for large land-owning corporations to lease their land to hunting clubs.Well, many of our state's counties -- where these corporations own huge tracts -- are near bankruptcy from a lack of property tax revenue. These same companies enjoy a lesser tax rate because they are considered "managed timberlands."I was told many years ago that Westvaco owned more that 60 percent of Wirt County. This same county had to get a special excess levy approved this year to avoid cutting funds for their VFD, EMS and salaries for county employees, etc.
These corporations enjoy huge tax breaks that I, just an ordinary landowner, do not enjoy. I'm quite sure that MeadWestvaco (new name) pays a lot less on any 54 acres it owes, compared to the 54 acres I own there.If I decided to rent or lease my property to a hunting club or anyone, my property would immediately be moved to Class IV rental category. This would, in effect, double my tax burden.If these companies enjoy their privileged tax status, they should, at least, give a declining number of hunting enthusiasts the right to hunt on their properties without joining any club to do it.Ted LanhamCharleston