Tuesday, April 25, 2017

House Republican Caucus Secures Conservation Land Tax Credit Cap Increase in FY18 Budget

A House Republican Caucus proposal to expand the Conservation Land Tax Credit received initial approval from the House of Representatives yesterday, on the first day of debate on the Fiscal Year 2018 state budget. The Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) offers the tax credit to property owners who agree to donate certified land to public or private conservation agencies.

The budget amendment – filed by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and the House Republican leadership team – calls for an increase in the annual cap from $2 million to $5 million over a three-year period, beginning on January 1, 2018. The amendment seeks to encourage additional conservation efforts throughout the Commonwealth while addressing the existing backlog of tax credit applications.

Established by the legislature in 2008, the Conservation Land Tax Credit was first offered in 2011, providing a tax credit for donated property equal to 50 percent of its fair market value, up to a maximum credit of $75,000 for each qualified donation.  Between 2011 and 2016, a total of $10.7 million in tax credits were issued to permanently protect 10,435 acres of donated conservation land valued at $46.3 million.

“We are very grateful to Minority Leader Jones for all of his leadership and work to expand and improve the Conservation Land Tax Credit,” said Edward O. Becker, President of Essex County Greenbelt and board member of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition. “His efforts will help ensure the continuation of this program that recognizes the generosity of landowners who donate their land to conserve farmland, public water supplies, wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation.”