In case you hadn’t heard, there are bills in both houses of Congress that will go a long way towards aiding your local land trust (Alabama Land Trust and Georgia Land Trust included). The conservation easement tax incentive, an increased deduction for the charitable gift of a conservation easement, has helped land trusts nationwide put an extra half a million acres under easement in just two years. Unfortunately, the incentive is set to  die at the end of this year. Bills H.R. 1831 and S. 812, if passed, would make the current conservation easement tax incentive a permanent part of the tax code.

We’re asking all of our friends and supporters to contact their local representative to make sure these bills are supported. As it currently stands, the bills have 102 cosponsors in the House, less than half of the 218 required to pass the bill. The LTA has indicated the bill is in greater need of the support of the House, the Senate having been more amenable to the conservation easement tax incentive in the past. The most effective method of swaying your local representative is to call them at their Capitol Hill office. The Capitol Hill switchboard which will direct you to your representative’s office can be reached at: 202-224-3121

A fact sheet to help you talk to your representative about it can be found here.

Links to the bills can be found here: H.R. 1831; S. 812

For our own purposes I’ve rundown the info on who has or has not sponsored the bills in Alabama & Georgia:

In Georgia, Senator Isakson and Chambliss have both sponsored the bill.
In Alabama, neither Senator Shelby or Sessions have sponsored the bill.

The following map indicates the Alabama and Georgia districts and whether or not each representative has cosponsored the bill. Green means they have cosponsored, yellow means they had cosponsored a similar bill in the last Congress (110th) but have failed to do so in this one (111th):