By Bob Katzen
The House 160-0, approved an amendment that would expand the existing Conservation Land Tax Credit by raising the annual cap for this program from $2 million to $5 million over a three-year period, beginning on January 1, 2022.
The increase would remain in place until December 31, 2031. This state tax credit provides an incentive for land with significant conservation value to be donated to public and private conservation agencies. The tax credit is equal to 50 percent of the fair market value of the donated property, up to a maximum credit of $75,000.
Supporters explained that the tax credit has already resulted in the permanent protection of some 14,000 acres of land valued at over $76.5 million. They noted that for 2021, the maximum $2 million in tax credits has already been committed to 33 projects that will protect about 1,954 additional acres. They said that leaves 83 additional projects representing another 1,482 acres of land on a waiting list with some of the projects expected to be waiting until at least 2024 to receive the tax credit.
“The recent passage of the 2050 Roadmap bill recognized that naturally occurring carbon sequestration is a very important component of the state’s ability to reach its short and long-term goals for reducing carbon emissions,” said House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading), the sponsor of the amendment. “Increasing the tax credit program’s annual cap will help to clear up the backlog of projects that are currently pending and will reap significant environmental benefits for the commonwealth.”