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Your Help Needed to Make the Easement Incentive Permanent

Breaking: House Votes for Permanent Easement Incentive

The House voted on H.R. 4719, "The America Gives More Act," which contains the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 277-130.This is the first time every member of Congress has gone on record making the easement incentive permanent.

Twitter Thank You PostcardIf you haven't already, Thank your representatives using social media. Please use our social media templates and examples. Tweet pictures like the one at right & post to Facebook!

 

July 11: Congressional House leadership has scheduled a vote on July 17 on a bill to permanently enact several charitable tax incentives, including H.R. 2807, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. The bill will come to the House floor as part of a larger charities package.

The provision officially reached a bipartisan majority of the House as co-sponsors – 222 in total. However, it is important that we continue to work together to ensure its passage.  Moreover, the more bipartisan votes we secure, the better positioned we will be with the Senate.

Regardless of whether or not your Congressman or woman was a co-sponsor, please call your representative to urge him or her to vote “yes” when it comes up for a vote next Wednesday or Thursday.  You can reach your representative by calling the House switchboard at 202-225-3121.

Making permanent the enhanced tax deduction for conservation easements has been a priority for the Alliance and the land trust community since 2006.  This will be the first time we’ve been able to get a vote on this on the House floor.

Let’s take full advantage of this historic opportunity.

July 3: Report Filed by House

The House Ways and Means Committee filed its report on H.R. 2807, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. That means they are getting ready for a vote by the full House! We need to be ready, too!

June 12: Please sign the Independent Sector letter

Please consider signing your land trust on to this letter by Independent Sector (which represents charities in D.C.) asking all members of the House to vote for the conservation tax incentive and two other charitable provisions recently passed by the committee (the IRA charitable rollover and an enhanced deduction for donations of food inventory to food banks and related charities). The letter asks for representatives to make these three important charitable provisions permanent.  The more organizations that sign on, the larger impact we will have.

May 29: House Committee Passes Conservation Tax Incentive

On May 29, legislation to make permanent the enhanced tax incentive for conservation easement donations – H.R. 2807 – was passed out of the House of Representatives Ways and Means committee. The bill gained its 219th cosponsor, a majority of the members of the House of Representatives.

This is a great step forward for land conservation and for providing a reliable tool to ensure that today’s natural treasures can be enjoyed for generations to come.

A Critical Conservation Tool with Broad, Bipartisan Support

The Land Trust Alliance, with your help and support, has been working with a broad coalition to make enhanced income tax deduction for conservation easement donations permanent since 2006.Co-sponsor Map

This tool has helped America’s land trusts work with farmers, ranchers and other modest-income landowners to increase the pace of conservation by a third to over a million acres a year! Unfortunately, this cost-effective conservation incentive expired at the end of 2013.

We are presented with a rare opportunity to make the incentive permanent before the end of the 113th Congress--many retiring champions have stated that they want to see it made permanent, and both the House and Senate are working to make certain expired tax provisions permanent. Now is time for Congress to pass H.R. 2807.

Want to Make a Difference? Here's How

Please call your members of Congress as soon as possible and ask that they support H.R. 2807 when it comes to the floor. With majority support, we can demonstrate to House leadership that H.R. 2807 is a bill that deserves a vote on the floor of the House.

Call and ask them to! Many Members wait to hear from their constituents before signing on to any legislation. Call the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and asking your Members of Congress to co-sponsor:

Don't just leave a message at the front desk--as an organization representing hundreds of constituents, you should ask to speak with the staffer who handles tax issues. Make sure they know of any prior relationship your land trust has had with the office and encourage staff to think of you as a resource on conservation issues. Better yet, invite them to come visit next time they're in the district.

How to Gain and Reaffirm Your Congressman's Support

Even if your senators and representatives are co-sponsors, we need to reaffirm their support for the easement incentive before it comes to the floor. Here are a few steps to doing so:

  1. Introduce your organization and tell them how important this tax incentive is to conservation work in your community.
  2. Tell them how the tax incentive helps family farmers, ranchers, and modest-income landowners protect their land. Share specific stories from your area!
  3. If they co-sponsored in the 112th Congress, be sure to thank them when asking for their support again.
  4. Remind Republicans that conservation easements are a cost-effective, voluntary, private-sector alternative to government led conservation efforts and that this incentive makes the tax system fairer for modest-income farmers, ranchers and forest owners.
  1. Urge Representatives to vote for the charities package, which includes the Conservation Easement Incentive Act, H.R. 2807, introduced by Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA).
  1. Urge Senators to co-sponsor the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act, S. 526, introduced by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Senators interested in co-sponsoring should send a signed Unanimous Consent request to the Senate floor.
  2. If your Rep. is a member of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, be sure to ask for the staff member's email address and forward our letter from more than 30 hunting and fishing organizations.
  3. Ask for the staffer’s email address and offer to send a fact sheet on the easement incentive.
  4. Phone calls and in-person visits are best, but you can send a letter if you prefer. View advice and examples.

Using the Media

Use the media, including social media, to raise awareness of this issue in your community. Read examples from other land trusts.

See more ways to say thank you »

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Advocates Alerts

July 10: House Vote on Conservation Tax Incentive Coming Soon

The House of Representatives will vote on the Conservation Easement Incentive Act, perhaps as early as next week. Whether you use this incentive or not, this is an unprecedented opportunity for the entire House of Representatives to vote specifically on whether or not to help land trusts. Every vote will count, and we urge you to call your congressional office and ask your representative to support H.R. 2807 when it comes to the floor – and to get as many others as possible in your land trust and its local partners to do the same.
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News
»
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.

»
Farm bill merges 2 land programs

March 3, 2014 | Cortez Journal | CO

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