New York State Policy Program
The Land Trust Alliance's New York State Policy Program strives to advance policies at the state level that support the common efforts and conservation goals of New York's land trust community. With the assistance of the New York Advisory Board, the Land Trust Alliance works to build relationships with key partners in Albany, broadening political support for state level conservation initiatives ensuring that NY's 90 land trusts have a consistent, steady voice at the state capitol. Land Trust Alliance and our partners also work to maintain funding for land trusts through the New York State Conservation Partnership Program, which is supported by the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and administered by the Land Trust Alliance in coordination with the State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Great News: Governor Cuomo Announces $20.5 million State Farmland Protection Program
Last week, Governor Cuomo announced the availability of $20.5 million to invest in farmland protection efforts around the state and help prevent conversion of prime agricultural lands to non-agricultural use. Eligible entities, including municipalities, counties, soil and water conservation districts (SWCD) and land trusts, can now apply for individual grants under the Round 13 Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Request for Proposals (RFP).
With the first funding for new projects in more than five years, we applaud American Farmland Trust and all of the land trust leaders who have articulately advocated for the re-launch of New York’s farmland protection program. Here is a link to Governor Cuomo’s press release: http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/05142014-farmland-protection-grant
All entities submitting proposals in response to this RFP must be registered with the state’s Grants Gateway www.grantsreform.ny.gov<http://www.grantsreform.ny.gov>. If entities are not registered their proposals will be not be considered. Please refer to the attached memo regarding pre-qualification.
For the RFP as well as associated documents, please go to the state Department of Agricultural & Markets Funding Opportunities link athttp://www.agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html
Interested land trusts are strongly encouraged to participate in a conference call hosted by American Farmland Trust on Thursday, May 29 at 11: 00 am to ask questions and identify issues of concern prior to the end of the RFP’s Question & Answer Phase which concludes at noon on
Important Note: The Department of Agriculture & Markets is also holding informational webinars about the RFP in the morning and afternoon of June 2 andJune 4. Link to webinar registration: http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html
New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act Signed Into Law – What Land Trusts Need to Know
In December, Governor Cuomo signed into law the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013, which makes significant changes to the New York Not-for-Profit Corporation Law, the Estates Powers & Trusts Law, and Article 7-A of the Executive Law, among others. The Act is the first substantial overhaul of New York’s nonprofit laws in more than 40 years.
The new law will have a sizable impact on nonprofit corporations and charitable trusts. It is intended to simplify and improve the efficiency of administrative procedures for nonprofit organizations while strengthening nonprofit governance and oversight. Most of its provisions take effect July 1, 2014.
For additional background, please refer to the Alliance's General Reference Document. Please note that this document is intended as a general guide for New York land trusts. The Alliance strongly encourages organizations to consult their own legal advisors for specific guidance.
Environmental Protection Fund: Budget Update
We thank all the land trust representatives who were able to join us in February for the annual Environmental Protection Fund Advocacy Day. The Assembly and Senate have heard from the Friends of New York’s Environment, and we continue to call for an increase in the Fund to $200 million. A well timed New York Times editorial on March 8th echoed our coalition’s appeal.
We applaud New York’s land trust community for its leadership and involvement in this state-level advocacy. (A special thanks to the 50 land trusts who signed on to the Friends EPF letter last month.) Learn more and take action at www.keepprotectingny.org
Hearing on Impact of the 2013-2014 State Budget on the Department of Environmental Conservation & Need for a New Environmental Bond Act
Ethan Winter, New York Conservation Manager for the Land Trust Alliance testified on Friday, September 6, 2013 at a hearing with the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and Assembly Subcommittee on Oversight of the Department of Environmental Conservation regarding a proposed Environmental Bond Act for the 2013-2014 NY State Budget.
Full Testimony (PDF)
Push Starts for Bond Act (8/24/13): http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2013/aug/24/push-starts-new-5b-environmental-bond-act/
The Friends of New York's Environment Joins Governor Cuomo in Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Environmental Protection Fund (August 2013)
(Albany, NY) – The Friends of New York's Environment, a broad partnership of more than 100 environmental, public health, agricultural conservation, recreational and urban stakeholder groups, joined Governor Cuomo in commemorating the creation of the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) twenty years ago. On August 17, 1993, Governor Mario Cuomo signed the Environmental Protection Fund into law at a ceremony at the Heurich Estate on the scenic shores of Lake Champlain.
New York Policy Archive
Environmental Protection Fund (EPF)
Environmental Protection Fund Overview (From the Friends of New York's Environmental coalition)
January 19, 2011: (Albany Times Union) Loggers, tree-huggers unite: Timber interests join greens in support of more money in Environmental Protection Fund
November 2010: Friends of NY's Environment Letter to Governor Elect Cuomo
October 2010: Bet on the Farm: Farmland Protection as a Strategy for Economic Growth and Renewal (Office of the State Comptroller--OSC)
February 2010 Report, The Role of Agriculture in the New York State Economy (OSC)
Economic Benefits of Land Conservation
2010: T(A Report by the Trust for Public Land)
Conservation: An Investment That Pays, 2009 (Trust for Public Land)
Tax Incentives for Land Conservation
In 2006, the Land Trust Alliance, with the support of the New York Advisory Board and land trust leaders across the state, was successful in getting New York State to enact the Conservation Easment Tax Credit. This innovative credit enables taxpayers whose land is restricted by a conservation easement to apply for an annual New York State income tax credit of up to 25% of the school district, county, and town real estate taxes paid on the restricted land, up to an annual maximum of $5,000 per taxpayer. Both New York State residents and non-residents may be eligible to claim the tax credit. All conservation easements must be registered with teh New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in order to claim the credit.
- Conservation Easement Tax Credit Guide
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has posted the taxpayer forms and instructions for the Conservation Easement Tax Credit on its website.
Individual Taxpayers (2010 Forms)
Non-Residents and Part-Year Residents (2010 Forms)
Corporations (2010 Forms)