Report Title:

Acquisition of Land for Conservation and Environmental Protection

Description:

Adjusts conveyance tax. Requires 10 percent of real estate conveyance tax collected be deposited into the land conservation fund. Increases to 30% the amount of the conveyance tax paid into the rental housing trust fund. Allows grants to state agencies, counties, and nonprofit land conservation organizations to acquire interest in lands having a value as a resource to the State. Provides stable funding mechanism for the natural area reserves system. Appropriates funds for the purchase of agriculture easements. (HB1308 CD1)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1308

TWENTY-THIRD LEGISLATURE, 2005

H.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

S.D. 2

 

C.D. 1

   


A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

RELATING TO LAND CONSERVATION.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature recognizes the value of Hawaii's natural resources to its economy, culture, and quality of life, but an alarmingly small amount of money is invested each year to protect our natural capital base. The legislature further finds that the preservation, protection, and enhancement of the State's land, coastal areas, and natural resources are of central importance for current and future residents and for the state economy. Article XI, section 1, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii sets forth the State's duty to conserve and protect Hawaii's natural beauty. Further, adequate funding to conserve land for watershed protection, coastal preservation, flood prevention, parks, habitat protection, cultural preservation, agricultural production, and open space and scenic resources is necessary to ensure protection of these lands and resources for future generations.

The legislature has already determined that the conveyance tax is an appropriate means to fund the conservation of natural resources by dedicating a portion of the current assessment to the natural area partnership program and forest stewardship program that assist private landowners in managing important natural resources.

The legislature has also determined that there is a clear nexus between the source of the conveyance tax and providing funding for watershed protection and other natural resource preservation programs. The development, sale, and improvement of real estate in Hawaii adds additional pressure on natural areas, coastal access, agricultural production, and Hawaii's water resources and watershed recharge areas.

The purpose of this Act is to establish permanent adequate funding for land conservation by increasing the conveyance tax on a sliding scale and dedicating ten per cent of the annual proceeds from the conveyance tax to the existing land acquisition fund established by Act 77, Session Laws of Hawaii 1973, codified as the land conservation fund in section 173A-5, Hawaii Revised Statutes.

SECTION 2. Section 36-27, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"36-27 Transfers from special funds for central service expenses. Except as provided in this section, and notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, from time to time, the director of finance, for the purpose of defraying the prorated estimate of central service expenses of government in relation to all special funds, except the:

(1) Special out-of-school time instructional program fund under section 302A-1310;

(2) School cafeteria special funds of the department of education;

(3) Special funds of the University of Hawaii;

(4) State educational facilities improvement special fund;

(5) Convention center enterprise special fund under section 201B-8;

(6) Special funds established by section 206E-6;

(7) Housing loan program revenue bond special fund;

(8) Housing project bond special fund;

(9) Aloha Tower fund created by section 206J-17;

(10) Funds of the employees' retirement system created by section 88-109;

(11) Unemployment compensation fund established under section 383-121;

(12) Hawaii hurricane relief fund established under chapter 431P;

(13) Hawaii health systems corporation special funds;

(14) Tourism special fund established under section 201B-11;

(15) Universal service fund established under chapter 269;

(16) Integrated tax information management systems special fund under section 231-3.2;

(17) Emergency and budget reserve fund under section 328L-3;

(18) Public schools special fees and charges fund under section 302A-1130(f);

(19) Sport fish special fund under section 187A-9.5;

(20) Neurotrauma special fund under section 321H4;

(21) Deposit beverage container deposit special fund under section 342G-104;

(22) Glass advance disposal fee special fund established by section 342G-82;

(23) Center for nursing special fund under section 304D-5;

(24) Passenger facility charge special fund established by section 261-5.5; [and

[](25)[]] Solicitation of funds for charitable purposes special fund established by section 467B-15[,]; and

(26) Land conservation fund established by section 173A-5,

shall deduct five per cent of all receipts of all other special funds, which deduction shall be transferred to the general fund of the State and become general realizations of the State. All officers of the State and other persons having power to allocate or disburse any special funds shall cooperate with the director in effecting these transfers. To determine the proper revenue base upon which the central service assessment is to be calculated, the director shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 for the purpose of suspending or limiting the application of the central service assessment of any fund. No later than twenty days prior to the convening of each regular session of the legislature, the director shall report all central service assessments made during the preceding fiscal year."

SECTION 3. Section 173A-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending the definition of "land having value as a resource to the State" to read as follows:

""Land having value as a resource to the State" includes land having natural, environmental, recreational, scenic, cultural, agricultural production, or historic value, and may also include park and trail systems [which] that provide access to any such land."

SECTION 4. Section 173A-5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]173A-5[] Fund for the environment.] Land conservation fund. (a) [A fund for the environment,] A land conservation fund, hereinafter called "fund," is hereby established.

(b) The proceeds from the sale of any general obligation bonds, authorized and issued for purposes of this chapter, shall be deposited in or credited to the fund.

(c) Any net proceeds or revenue from the operation, management, sale, lease, or other disposition of land or the improvements on such land, acquired or constructed by the board under the provisions of this chapter, shall also be deposited in or credited to the fund.

(d) Ten per cent of all taxes imposed and collected by section 247-1 shall be deposited in or credited to the fund every year.

(e) The fund shall be administered and managed by the department.

(f) The acquisition of interests or rights in land having value as a resource to the State for the preservation of:

(1) Watershed protection;

(2) Coastal areas, beaches, and ocean access;

(3) Habitat protection;

(4) Cultural and historical sites;

(5) Recreational and public hunting areas;

(6) Parks;

(7) Natural areas;

(8) Agricultural production; or

(9) Open spaces and scenic resources,

constitutes a public purpose for which public funds may be expended or advanced.

(g) The fund shall be used for:

(1) The acquisition of interests or rights in land having value as a resource to the State, whether in fee title or through the establishment of permanent conservation easements under chapter 198; and

(2) Annual administration costs for the fund, not to exceed five per cent of annual fund revenues of the previous year.

(h) Based on applications from state agencies, counties, and nonprofit land conservation organizations, the department shall recommend to the board specific parcels of land to be acquired, restricted with conservation easements, or preserved in similar fashion. The board shall review the selections and approve or reject the selections according to the availability of moneys in the fund. To be eligible for grants from the fund, state and county agencies and nonprofit land conservation organizations shall submit applications to the department that contain:

(1) Contact information for the project;

(2) A description of the project;

(3) The request for funding;

(4) Cost estimates for acquisition of the interest in the land;

(5) Location and characteristics of the land; and

(6) Other similar, related, or relevant information as may be determined by the department.

(i) For applications approved by the board, the board may acquire land having value as a resource to the State, pursuant to section 173A-4, or the board may award grants from the fund to the qualifying state or county agencies or nonprofit land conservation organizations for the preservation of the real property. Where the recipient of a grant is a county agency or nonprofit land conservation organization, the board shall require additional matching funds of at least twenty-five per cent of the total project costs. Matching funds may be in the form of:

(1) Direct moneys;

(2) A combination of public and private funds;

(3) Land value donation;

(4) In-kind contributions; or

(5) Any combination of the above,

and evidence of these matching funds shall be made available from the qualifying entities prior to distribution of the fund grant.

(j) The board shall:

(1) Track amounts disbursed from the fund;

(2) Prepare an annual report to be transmitted to the governor and the legislature at least twenty days prior to the convening of each regular session of the legislature. The annual report shall include:

(A) A summary of all interests or rights in land acquired during the preceding fiscal year;

(B) A summary of what value each newly acquired land has as a resource to the State;

(C) Proposals for future land acquisitions, including a summary of the resource value that the land may possess;

(D) A financial report for the preceding fiscal year; and

(E) Objectives and budget projections for the following fiscal year;

and

(3) Make copies of the annual report available to the public."

SECTION 5. Section 173A-9, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]173A-9[]] Grants to state agencies, counties[.], and nonprofit land conservation organizations. Subject to the approval of the governor, the board may make grants to state agencies, counties, and nonprofit land conservation organizations from available funds for the purchase or acquisition [by eminent domain] of interests or rights in land having value as a resource to the State, whether in fee title or through the purchase of permanent conservation easements under chapter 198, and approved for purchase or acquisition by the board. Any land so acquired by any state agency or county may[, subject to chapter 171,] be sold, leased, or otherwise disposed of, subject to chapter 171, with the prior written approval of the board. Any land acquired by any nonprofit land conservation organization under this chapter may be sold, leased, or otherwise disposed of with the prior written approval of the board. Any permanent conservation easement established under this section that includes partnership with a federal land conservation program may be transferred only as provided by rules of the federal program."

SECTION 6. Section 173A-10, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]173A-10[]] Proceeds of sale, lease, or other disposition. Whenever any such land is sold by any state agency, county, or nonprofit land conservation organization, that portion of the net proceeds (sale price less actual expenses of sale) of such sale equal to the proportion [which] that the grant by the State bears to the original cost of the land or other property shall be paid to the State. In the event any such land or other property is leased, rented, or otherwise disposed of, that portion of the rental or proceeds equal to the proportion that the grant by the State bears to the original cost of the land or other property shall be paid to the State. Any proceeds received by the State pursuant to this section that were originally paid out of the fund pursuant to section 173A-9 shall be redeposited in or credited to the fund. This section shall not apply to rents of property protected by permanent conservation easements established by grants from the fund."

SECTION 7. Section 247-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"247-2 Basis and rate of tax. The tax imposed by section 247-1 shall be based on the actual and full consideration (whether cash or otherwise, including any promise, act, forbearance, property interest, value, gain, advantage, benefit, or profit), paid or to be paid[, which] for all transfers or conveyance of realty or any interest therein, that shall include any liens or encumbrances thereon at the time of sale, lease, sublease, assignment, transfer, or conveyance, and shall be at the [rate of 10 cents per $100] following rates:

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2):

(A) Ten cents per $100 for properties with a value of less than $600,000;

(B) Twenty cents per $100 for properties with a value of at least $600,000, but less than $1,000,000; and

(C) Thirty cents per $100 for properties with a value of $1,000,000 or greater;

and

(2) For the sale of a condominium or single family residence for which the purchaser is ineligible for a county homeowner's exemption on property tax:

(A) Fifteen cents per $100 for properties with a value of less than $600,000;

(B) Twenty-five cents per $100 for properties with a value of at least $600,000, but less than $1,000,000; and

(C) Thirty-five cents per $100 for properties with a value of $1,000,000 or greater,

of such actual and full consideration; provided that in the case of a lease or sublease, this chapter shall apply only to a lease or sublease whose full unexpired term is for a period of five years or more, and in those cases, including (where appropriate) those cases where the lease has been extended or amended, the tax in this chapter shall be based on the cash value of the lease rentals discounted to present day value and capitalized at the rate of six per cent, plus the actual and full consideration paid or to be paid for any and all improvements, if any, [which] that shall include on-site as well as [offsite] off-site improvements, applicable to the leased premises; and provided further that the tax imposed for each transaction shall be not less than $1."

SECTION 8. Section 247-7, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"247-7 Disposition of taxes. All taxes collected under this chapter shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the general fund of the State, to be used and expended for the purposes for which the general fund was created and exists by law; provided that of the taxes collected each fiscal year[, twenty-five]:

(1) Ten per cent shall be paid into the land conservation fund established pursuant to section 173A-5;

(2) Thirty per cent shall be paid into the rental housing trust fund established by section 201G-432; and [twenty-five]

(3) Twenty-five per cent shall be paid into the natural area reserve fund established by section 195-9; provided that the funds paid into the natural area reserve fund shall be annually disbursed by the department of land and natural resources [after joint consultation with the forest stewardship committee and the natural area reserves system commission] in the following priority:

[(1)] (A) To natural area partnership and forest stewardship programs[;] after joint consultation with the forest stewardship committee and the natural area reserves system commission;

[(2)] (B) Projects undertaken in accordance with watershed management plans pursuant to section 171-58 or watershed management plans negotiated with private landowners[;], and management of the natural area reserves system pursuant to section 195-3; and

[(3)] (C) The youth conservation corps established under chapter 193."

SECTION 9. There is appropriated out of the land conservation fund of the State of Hawaii established pursuant to section 173A-5, the sum of $1,100,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2005-2006 for the purchase of agriculture easements to protect farm and ranch lands throughout the state. This appropriation will use and preserve federal farm and ranch land protection program funding for agricultural and cultural lands in Hawaii.

The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of land and natural resources for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 10. The director of finance shall transfer to the credit of the land conservation fund on the effective date of this Act, all unexpended or unencumbered balances remaining in the fund for the environment scheduled for repeal on the effective date of this Act.

SECTION 11. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 12. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2005.