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Post-election Sprint for Conservation

UPDATE: Click here for the latest updates on our year-end priorities.

Please join us as we take off on a 45-day sprint to renew the enhanced easement incentive and pass the Farm Bill before Congress adjourns! These are policy challenges that we can and must win -- but we can’t do it without your help!

It's too late to send letters or ask for co-sponsors. Pick the issue that matters most to your land trust and make personal phone calls to your rep and senators’ tax or agriculture staffers (Switchboard: 202-224-3121). Tell them what it means for your community and ask their advice for how we can get across the finish line -- they may or may not have an answer for you, but the fact that you asked will make a difference! Then amplify those calls with outreach to your local media!

Your Outreach Toolkit

Tax Incentive FocusedFarm Bill Focused
Talking Points Talking Points
Sample OpEd (or newsletter article)
Sample OpEd (or newsletter article)
Letter to the Editor Letter to the Editor
LTE Thanking Co-sponsors Economic Benefits Study

Please share how you use these materials, any coverage you receive, and any feedback you hear back from your members of Congress: policy@lta.org.

Background Information

Easement Incentive Renewal Critical as Tax Reform Looms

The Senate Finance Committee included an extension of the enhanced incentive for easement donations through 2013 in its slimmed-down “tax extenders” bill. But the House Ways & Means Committee hasn’t yet taken up extenders. We must convey urgency to every Member of Congress so our “extender” isn’t forgotten as the House and Senate deal with the much bigger issue of the “fiscal cliff.” Failure to get the incentive back on the books by December 31 would cost us an entire year of conservation and put us in a weak position as Congress debates comprehensive tax reform in 2013. Read more at www.lta.org/easementincentive.

Pass the Farm Bill to Secure $1.58 billion for Easements

The House and Senate approached the 2012 Farm Bill with enormous pressure to eliminate programs, and they’re poised to cut as much as $35 billion overall. Thanks to the coordinated efforts of the land trust community, however, they’ve increased the funding for land trusts to buy easements, House leaders have promised to “deal with” the Farm Bill after the election, but we’ll need continued pressure to actually get the five-year Farm Bill enacted. A short-term extension or other delay into 2013 could cost us $500 million in easement funding. Read more at www.lta.org/farmbill.

A Few Thoughts about the Election…

Many of you have been asking what the election means for our work, so here are a few take-aways:

  • Voters overwhelmingly support conservation -- 81% of land conservation ballot measures passed, generating $767 million. Learn more.
  • The silver lining of a status quo election is that neither party can expect a better negotiating position in January, improving the odds for action this year.
  • Several of our Farm Bill and easement incentive champions survived tough challenges, including Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), who highlighted farm bill conservation programs in his post-election remarks.
  • The Democratic co-chairs of the House Land Conservation Caucus -- Reps. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) were both elected to the Senate.
  • Easement incentive co-sponsors were re-elected at a rate above the national average, but many are retiring. It will take hard work to replace the 57 co-sponsors not returning next year.

Look for resources to engage newly-elected legislators over the coming weeks.

Other Resources

Need help? Have news to share? Contact us!

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Advocates Alerts

February 12: The House successfully voted 279-137, demonstrating a supermajority (67%) of support, on H.R. 644, a package of charitable incentives including the conservation tax incentive.Now we need your help in the Senate to secure co-sponsors! Sens. Heller and Stabenow have requested land trusts’ assistance in asking senators to cosponsor S. 330, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. Learn more »

View Past Alerts Sign-up Now
Congress wrestles with tax breaks for open space

July 29, 2014 | Poughkeepsie Journal | NY

House passes Gerlach conservation tax break bill, now up to Senate

July 18, 2014 | The Mercury News | Pottstown, PA

The Time is Now for Congress to Act on Conservation

July 15, 2014 | Politico | Washington, D.C.

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