Senator Wyden supports permanent tax incentive for conservation

COLT joins with the Oregon Food Bank and the Nonprofit Association of Oregon to push for permanency to benefit farmers, landowners, and retirees.

COLT Executive Director Kelley Beamer speaks about the importance of the conservation easement tax incentive as Sen. Ron Wyden, Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, and young volunteers at the Oregon Food Bank look on.

December 14, 2015 (Oregon Food Bank, Portland, Ore) – Leaders from the Oregon Food Bank, the Nonprofit Association of Oregon, and the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts joined Senator Wyden today to highlight the importance of making permanent a set of tax deduction measures that would benefit thousands of Oregonians.

Right now, Congress is considering making permanent three key tax incentives that promote charitable giving. These historic measures motivate small businesses to donate food, landowners to conserve land and individuals to make charitable donations through their retirement accounts.

Senator Ron Wyden, ranking member on the key Senate Finance Committee, is a strong advocate for charitable giving. At Saturday’s event, he told the crowd of dozens of volunteers and staff, “Right now we are wrestling in Congress to get [the incentives] for two more years…. But I wanted to come here and just pledge to all of you: I am going to stay at it until those more generous tax right-offs are made permanent.” He emphasized his commitment, saying, “We have to do this because it is the moral thing to do.”

The enhanced tax incentive for the donation of conservation easements allows farmers, ranchers and other landowners to deduct a larger share of their income over a longer period of time. In Oregon, the tax incentive for land conservation has helped landowners protect thousands of acres of working lands and wildlife habitat from development.

The three nonprofit organizations represent thousands of other organizations and individuals throughout Oregon. Their recent op-ed piece in The Oregonian emphasized what is at stake in Oregon if these key incentives are not made permanent this year: “Our organizations collectively work to address Oregon’s greatest needs, from its land to its people. We cannot overstate the impact increases in voluntary giving would have on priorities such as education, conservation of open spaces and hunger relief, helping to create a sustainable future for all Oregonians. With congressional action to make these incentives permanent, Oregonians and our charitable organizations can do even more to serve our communities.”

Oregon Food Bank CEO Susannah Morgan talks about the importance of encouraging food donations to the food bank.

Oregon Food Bank CEO Susannah Morgan talks about the importance of encouraging food donations to the food bank.

Nonprofit Association of Oregon Executive Director, Jim White, highlights the importance of encouraging older Oregonians to give from their retirement accounts.

Nonprofit Association of Oregon Executive Director, Jim White, highlights the importance of encouraging older Oregonians to give from their retirement accounts.

Group photo

Senator Wyden with staff and leaders from the three nonprofit organizations