Again: Ledge v. Game and Fish | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Again: Ledge v. Game and Fish

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 1:37 PM

OK. I KNOW this a.g. opinion request stems from Game and Fish protectiveness of its gas riches. Here, Sen. Steve Farris asks a pointed question: What is it about the messy business of oil and gas drilling that is in harmony with the agency's fiercely defended constitutional autonomy to protect wildlife? And does a gas company lease of public land for private use make it taxable?

Answer: Good questions. More development of the issues will be required. I think we can expect some development come January.

QUESTION: Is the use of Arkansas Game and Fish Commission land for the drilling of gas wells on that  land consistent with its mandate under Amendment 35 to manage, restore, conserve, and regulate the birds, fish, game and wildlife resources of the State?  Q2) Does public property  retain its tax exemption under art. 16, sec. 5(b) of the Arkansas Constitution if the state agency or commission that owns the land uses the property for a state purpose as well as to generate a profit for itself by leasing the land to a non-public entity?  Q3) Is land that is leased from a state agency to a commercial enterprise subject to property tax under art. 16, sec. 5(a) of the Arkansas Constitution?  Q4) Is the language of A.C.A. 26-3-301(4) that exempts all state property, whether real or personal, consistent with art. 16, sec. 5(b) that exempts public property only if it is used exclusively for public purposes?  Q5) While the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission holds title to various parcels of real property, do the people of the State of Arkansas retain the beneficial interest in the real property with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission holding the property in trust for the people? 

 RESPONSE:  Q1)  It is impossible to answer this question definitively without full development of the facts and circumstances surrounding this particular use of Commission land.  See Opinion for general discussion.  Q2 &3)  These questions require factual determinations by the assessor. See  A.C.A. 26-27-317 and 26-27-318.  Generally, the assessor will not consider any individual parcel of land leased to a private entity to be tax-exempt.   The question of whether an entire larger tract, containing some parcels which are leased and others which are devoted to public use, will lose its tax emption under Ark. Const. article 16, section 5 due to the presence of the leased parcels will depend upon the predominant or primary use of that larger tract.  Q4)  A court would read this statute in light of the constitution, as also requiring an exclusive public use. Q5)  The court has identified the Commission as "trustee for the people."  Farris v. Ark. State Game & Fish Comm'n, 228 Ark. 776, 782, 310 S.W.2d 231 (1958).  But the term "beneficial interest" would not appear to applyin the context of Amendment 35.

 


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Where's the outrage?

    Am I the only person, apart from federal prosecutors, outraged about the criminal enterprise that inveigled itself into a privileged position as an Arkansas taxpayer-financed human services provider to the tune, today, of $43 million a year?
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Where's the outrage?

    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Rutledge opponent hits her socializing with corporate interests

    Mike Lee, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, has criticized Attorney General Leslie Rutledge over recent reports of her participation at private meetings where corporate interests make big contributions to a political group she heads for access to state legal officers.
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation