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5 Ways Your Members of Congress Can Help

Advocates Alert: July 31, 2008

The conservation easement tax incentive will expire in just 17 months--unless Congress acts next year! We need to start building support now. Additional cosponsors for H.R. 1576 and S. 469--legislation making the easement incentive permanent--will help us ensure this important conservation tool never expires.

We're just 44 House cosponsors away from having half of the House.  We know these bills won't pass this year, but building a long list of cosponsors now is a powerful demonstration of our bi-partisan support, and will give us a big head start in the new Congress.

We have updated a whole suite of tax incentive fact sheets and templates on the How You Can Help page of the policy website. Chief among these is a new fact sheet featuring five ways your Members of Congress can help right now:

1.  Ask Senators and Representatives to cosponsor legislation making the incentive permanent:

  • H.R. 1576 by Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Dave Camp (R-MI). They can contact Travis Robey in Rep. Thompson’s office at 5-3311.
  • S. 469 by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA). They can contact Jo-Ellen Darcy of the Finance Committee at 4-4515.
  • For a list of current cosponsors visit: www.lta.org/policy/taxincentives/federal/cosponsors

2.  Ask Representatives to join the Land Conservation Caucus:

  • Contact Jesse Young in Rep. Chris Murphy's office, Laura Carrell in Rep. Jim Gerlach's office, or Betsy Christian in Rep. Joe Pitts' office.
  • For a current list of caucus members visit: www.lta.org/policy/land-conservation-caucus

3.  Invite Members of Congress to attend a site visit, media event, landowner forum or similar event in the district.  There's no better place to build relationships with your elected officials than on the front porch of a landowner who benefited from the tax incentive.

4.  Offer them a way to take credit for renewing the incentive! You could draft an article on the incentive for their constituent newsletter, get a joint op-ed placed in a local newspaper or arrange for an interview with agricultural press in their district.

5.  Ask your Representative to personally call Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel and convey support for making the easement incentive permanent.

Depending on what your Members of Congress have done already, these asks can be great ideas for your August recess site visits or for action alerts to your email list. Or, simply pick up the phone right now and call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3131.

New Tools for August Recess Site Visits

Congress heads home for Recess at the end of this week and there's no better way to build a relationship with your Representative than by hosting an event like a landowner forum or conserved property tour in his or her district. Today we added even more tools to our August recess site visit guide--including new templates for media outreach--to make meeting your Members of Congress over recess as easy as possible. Don't let August slip by without getting some face time with your legislators.

Click here for more tips and ideas and don't forget to send pictures from your event to policy@lta.org.

Thanks for helping!

Russ Shay
Director of Public Policy   
Land Trust Alliance
rshay@lta.org
202-638-4725

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Advocates Alerts

July 17: The House just voted 277-130 to pass the charities package! 56 Democrats joined their Republican colleagues to support charitable giving incentives, including the enhanced easement incentive - the second-highest number of defections after the research and development tax credit. Several others spoke on the floor in support of the conservation easement incentive, and other favorable charitable incentives. Thank you to organizations like Ducks Unlimited, CSF and others that reached out to Congressional offices over the last few days or alerted their membership of this important vote. Now, we pivot to the Senate.
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