Ways & Means Committee Passes Conservation Tax Incentive
~The Nonprofit Provocateur~
On May 29, 2014, the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee passed H.R. 2807, legislation to make the enhanced tax incentive for donated conservation easements permanent, but the fight for conservation has not yet been won.
This is an important step forward for land conservation and for providing a reliable tool to ensure that today’s natural treasures can be enjoyed for generations to come. The Land Trust Alliance and local land trusts around the country have been working with a broad coalition to make this permanent since 2006.
Now it is time for Congress to pass H.R. 2807. Already, there are 212 bipartisan co-sponsors for the measure. Please call your members of Congress as soon as possible and ask that they urge House leadership to send this important legislation to the floor for a full vote. With majority support, we can demonstrate to House leadership that H.R. 2807 is a bill that deserves a vote on the floor of the House.
If your representatives haven't yet co-sponsored this bill, call and ask them to! Many Members wait to hear from their constituents before signing on to any legislation. Call the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor. If your members of Congress have already co-sponsored the bill, please thank them for their conservation leadership.
Since the enhanced incentive first passed in 2006, roughly one million acres have been conserved per year with easements managed by the nation’s 1,700 community-based land trusts.
- Through a limited tax deduction, landowners are able to place their most prized assets – historical sites, forests, family farms and ranches – in protected easements to ensure a legacy of natural abundance, enjoyment and agricultural production for future generations.
- Land placed in easements can be farmed, grazed, hunted or used for recreation and the conservation of natural resources. It can also be passed on to heirs or sold. But the land is kept safe from future development ensuring that today's natural treasures don’t become tomorrow’s strip malls and convenience stores.
- Valuable open spaces or farmland can be protected by an easement for a fraction of the cost of buying it, making easements by far the most cost-effective approach to land conservation. For example, federal acquisition of land costs taxpayers roughly $12,000 an acre compared to just $400 an acre for an easement.
- The enhanced incentive expired last year, and conservation easement enrollments are expected to plunge by at least 300,000 acres per year, or roughly one-third.
The time is NOW to enact legislation to make the enhanced tax incentive permanent.
For more information and helpful links, visit www.landtrustalliance.org/policy/tax-matters/your-help-needed-to-secure-a-majority-of-support-in-the-house
Check out the author's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Visjonaer and find him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TimoJacobson
‘Like’ and/or 'Share' this article below if you believe in permanently conserving our natural landscape and working farms and forests. Have you been involved with a donated conservation easement? Share your stories!
Tim Jacobson, CEO of Visjonær Consulting & Communications, 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-upon-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.