Unfounded criticism of Colorado’s conservation easement tax credit
“Tax credits are like taking candy from a baby,” Dec. 14 Megan Schrader column.
Megan Schrader’s criticism of tax credits for conservation easements is unfounded. In addition to wildlife habitat, Colorado’s innovative conservation easement program has protected some of the state’s most iconic vistas and open spaces at a fraction of the cost of purchasing land. Schrader laments some land may be more valuable than others. But Colorado is blessed with a diversity of habitat. From shortgrass prairie to alpine forest, all of these lands are important and worth preserving. The conservation easement program is often the last bastion between productive land and development. Successive drought years nearly forced the sale of our historic family ranch. Thanks to a conservation easement, it will remain productive ranch land and wildlife habitat in perpetuity. Taking away this important tool would jeopardize open space and harm Colorado’s agricultural heritage, wildlife and communities.
Megan Schrader wrote that “in 16 years, the [conservation easement] tax credit has cost the state almost $1 billion.” It has not. It would cost the state only if it were the state’s money. It is not. It is the taxpayers’ money. What Schrader considers a giveaway is actually allowing the taxpayers to keep more of what they have earned. This is true regardless of the merit, or lack thereof, of the underlying purpose of the credit. Send letters of 150 words or fewer to email@example.com or 101 W. Colfax Ave., Suite 800, Denver, CO, 80202. Please include full name, city and phone number. Contact us at 303-954-1331.