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Support the Easement Incentive over Recess, NPR Response

Advocates Alert: March 14, 2008

Farm Bill Delay Gives us Time to Push Tax Incentive

Yesterday, Congress gave itself another month to work out a final Farm Bill. Their new deadline is April 18th. That gives us more time to motivate House Members to include a permanent extension of the tax incentive in the final Farm Bill.

This fight won’t be easy. Key House leaders are resisting the idea of putting any tax provisions in the final bill, but a personal call from your Representative to House leaders could really make a difference.

The House begins a two-week “District Work Period” today. They’ll be in their districts and we need you to meet with them to ask for their help getting the easement incentive in the final Farm Bill.

Visit your Representative’s website at www.house.gov and find the number of their main district office. Call and ask:

  • Can we schedule a meeting in the district office? Request a meeting in your Representative’s district office and invite some landowners who have benefited from the tax incentive—particularly farmers or ranchers of modest means. Be sure to bring a few nice photos of property your land trust protects with you for the meeting.
  • Can we meet the Representative at a “town hall” meeting? Over the course of recess, Members of Congress generally host several “town halls,” breakfasts, picnics or similar events where you’ll have opportunities to ask them questions. Come prepared to thank them for past support and ask for their help getting the tax incentive for conservation easement donations included in the Farm Bill.

Here are the messages we want to convey:

  • If your Representative has already cosponsored H.R. 1576 (check our list), thank them for their support. If not, urge them to join the 163 Representatives already supporting this bill.
  • Tell them the Farm Bill is our best chance to renew the incentive this year, and we need their personal support to make it happen. Ask Democrats to call Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Ways & Means Chair Charlie Rangel (D-NY). Ask Republicans to call Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) of the Agriculture Committee or Jim McCrery (R-LA) of the Ways & Means Committee.
  • Ask them to convey this message to leadership: “The tax incentive for conservation easements in section 12203 of the Senate’s Farm Bill is very important to landowners and conservationists in my district and it is extremely important to get this done now.”

If you do get a chance to discuss the tax incentive with your Representative (or their district staff), be sure to also follow-up with their staff in DC.

Land Trust Alliance Responds to NPR Story

This week National Public Radio ran a story called "In Land Conservation, 'Forever' May Not Last," on All Things Considered. Unfortunately NPR focused on the on the termination of a single Wyoming easement, implying that all conservation easements are at risk.  If you missed the story, read it here.

We are aware of and share your concern about the potential negative impact of this NPR coverage.  The Alliance’s communications staff is taking proactive steps on behalf of the community, including:

  • Contacting NPR to try and secure placement for a follow-up piece that better reflects the true situation for land trusts
  • Developing a statement that we hope will be placed on the NPR website
  • Providing spokespersons to NPR who can address the positive message that strong land trusts keep easements permanent
  • Developing further talking points for the community, as needed if the story spreads

Please let us know if you see any local or regional media coverage that “piggybacks” on the NPR story.  We hope this is helpful, and if you have feedback please contact the Director of Communications at communications@lta.org.

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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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