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Majorities Make Case for Tax Incentive, Farm Bill Sign-on, Strong Budget

Advocates Alert: February 20, 2012

On Friday, Congress renewed a reduction in payroll taxes without extending the enhanced easement incentive or the dozens of other "tax extenders" that expired on January 1st. The failure of congress to handle such routine business makes it more urgent than ever to get off this "extenders" train once and for all by making the incentive permanent.

Use Our Majorities to Remind Congressional Leaders We Need Their Help

We'd like to thank the many land trusts who joined us on Friday in sending out press releases heralding the news that majorities of both parties -- 300 representatives -- have co-sponsored H.R. 1964, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. This milestone is a great opportunity to show how widely supported your work is, thank co-sponsors, and put pressure on House leaders to pass something that so many of their members support.

It's not too late to send a release of your own. In fact, Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) are holding their releases until they have an opportunity to speak on the House floor next week. They were unable to get floor time on Friday due to the payroll tax proceedings. We'll share video as soon as those remarks occur, and that will provide a fresh news hook for your outreach.

One Week Left: Sign and Promote the Farm Bill Conservation Letter

With 5 days to go, we're still 125 signers short of our goal to recruit 500 organizations in support of Farm Bill conservation programs. Please add your land trust's name to the list -- we very much want to make a strong show of support in advance of next week's Senate hearing on "Strengthening Conservation Through the 2012 Farm Bill." Then share the letter with your partners and urge them to sign-on by Friday, February 24th.

To read the letter and sign-on, visit: http://goo.gl/VaokH. (Scroll up for full text)

Want to get more deeply involved? Visit our farm bill webpage and email lsherrod@lta.org to join our farm bill email list.

President's Budget Would Fully Fund FRPP, Boost LWCF

President Obama's annual funding request to Congress proposes significant increases for the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, Land and Water Conservation Fund and several other important programs for land trusts. It also seeks a one-year extension of the enhanced easement incentive but proposes other limits on charitable deductions. Read our complete report, including an updated chart comparing recent funding levels.

Thanks for helping.

H.R. 1964 Co-sponsors Added Since Our Last Update

  • Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
  • Rep. Reid RIbble (R-WI)
  • Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)

*Note -- there's been some shuffling, so today there may be only 298 sponsors listed on Thomas.gov.  But Reps. Ribble and Duffy (along with lead sponsor Gerlach) will bring the total back to 301!

S. 339 Co-sponsors Added Since Our Last Update

  • Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
  • Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
  • Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

See the full list and map at: www.lta.org/easementincentive/cosponsors.

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Advocates Alerts

June 12: In Historic First, Conservation Tax Incentive Approved by Committee

We are one step closer to making the incentive permanent, but we now need to convince House leadership that this is a priority for their members and should be brought to the floor for a vote ASAP. Please consider signing your land trust onto this letter by Independent Sector asking all members of the House to vote for the conservation tax incentive and two other charitable provisions.
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