Submitted Monday, May 19th 2014 12:03 pm by Timothy S. Jacobson
It's Time to Make the Conservation Easement Tax Incentive Permanent!
By Tim Jacobson
~The Nonprofit Provocateur~
Each year, America loses two million acres of land to development. That's 20 million acres over the course of a mere decade. This includes the loss of working farms and wildlife habitat, and it's not sustainable.
One of the most effective ways we increase the pace of land conservation is through income tax incentives that help landowners afford to choose conservation over inappropriate development. Land trusts have been enormously successful in using these incentives to protect special places across America. Back in 2006, Congress created a powerful incentive for easement donations, which expired at the end of 2013. This will hurt prospects for land conservation unless we get the easement incentive renewed. Even better would be to have the incentive made permanent rather than expiring every couple of years, as it has since 2006.
On February 26th, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released draft legislation, the “Tax Reform Act of 2014" which, among other things, would make permanent the conservation easement incentives.
On April 3, the Senate Finance committee voted to extend the Conservation Easement Incentive Act (H.R. 2807), which would extend the deduction for the donation of a conservation easement to tax years 2014 and 2015.
In the House of Representatives, the Ways and Means Committee has started moving tax policy forward. As early as this week, the tax incentive may get voted on by the committee and may make it to the House floor soon thereafter. We're well off in Wisconsin with strong supporters for the easement incentive in Congress.
We need members of Congress to step up and support this important program. As Earth Day founder and Wisconsin Senator and Governor once said, “The wealth of the nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats and biodiversity… that’s all there is. That’s the whole economy. That’s where all the economic activity and jobs come from. These biological systems are the sustaining wealth of the world.”
The conservation easement tax incentive embodies long-term thinking for the good of America. It's time to make the incentive permanent. Please contact your member of Congress today and encourage them to sponsor and support the legislation.
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Tim Jacobson, CEO of Visjonær Consulting, has served as a board member and executive of a variety of nonprofit and for-profit organizations over the past two decades. He's author of the book Explosive Marketing for Nonprofits: Trajectory for Success, to be released in 2014, the executive producer of a documentary film, Mysteries of the Driftless, broadcast on PBS, and author of Amazon best-selling thriller The Kurchatov Penetration. He has been featured dozens of times by TV and radio stations, magazines and newspapers for his organizational consulting, filmmaking, writing, conservation and legal work and for his exploration of international justice and peace issues.
This article is copyright (c) 2014, Timothy S. Jacobson. All rights reserved.