Letter: Land Conservation Measure Needs Support

In February the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the American Gives More Act by a super-majority of 67 percent, which included a key incentive for land conservation. In true bipartisan fashion, Congressmen Chris Gibson (R) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D) voted in support of the bill.

Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced the legislation in the Senate (S.330), and Sen. Charles Schumer (D) joined the growing bipartisan list of co-sponsors over the summer. Recently, Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senate Republican Conference leader John Thune, (R-S.D.) stated that they are open to including permanent provisions within a larger package reinstating all of the currently-expired tax incentives for donations. Among these is a key incentive for land conservation, which makes the tax system fairer by allowing working farmers, as well as landowners with modest incomes, to realize more of the value of the tax deduction.

Private land conservation is good for everyone. The scenic landscapes of the Hudson Valley bring economic benefit to local communities through outdoor recreation and tourism, and support job growth. Open space also sustains the region’s quality of life by protecting natural resources including safe drinking water.

I urge your readers to contact Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and ask her to support voluntary land conservation by co-sponsoring S.330. I also encourage them to thank Sen. Schumer and Congressmen Gibson and Maloney for their strong support of this important tax incentive.

Andy Chmar, Executive Director
Hudson Highlands Land Trust

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