Last year, Governor Deal signed legislation (HB 464) which would terminate the land conservation tax credit at the end of 2016. This year, on May 3, Governor Deal signed legislation that would turn the tax credit spigot back on through December 31, 2021. The amount of the tax credit remains the same: $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for partnerships. The current annual programmatic cap of $30 million remains. So does the two conservation purposes requirement. The new law requires DNR to prepare a report at the end of the five years to include information on the number of applications and acres donated, the value of the donations, the total amount of tax credits granted and the direct and indirect benefits to the state. At the end of 2021, DNR “shall accept no new applications for the tax credits” and the spigot will be turned off again.
On March 22, the House passed Representatives Bishop and Scott’s bill, the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park Boundary Act (HR 482). It would enlarge the current Ocmulgee National Monument, change its name to the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park and to authorize a study of further expansions between Macon and Hawkinsville. Action now moves to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Senators Isakson and Perdue introduced a companion bill, S. 1696, last June.
On the 39th day of the 40-day legislative session, the Senate passed HB 1014 to extend the land conservation tax credit for five more years. The Senate vote was unanimous, 53-0. (The House’s earlier vote on the measure was also unanimous, 165-0.)
Because the Senate made no changes to Representatives Powell and Williamson’s bill, HB 1014 now goes to Governor Deal for his signature. He has 40 days from sine di (March 24) in which to do so. A great deal of credit for the passage of this bill goes to Robert Ramsay, President of the Georgia Conservancy, and his legislative team.
Their work was aided by those of you who contacted your Representatives and Senators. Thanks, all!