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Ryan Z.
Republican MT 0

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  • Fighting Hunger Incentive Act of 2015

    by Representative Ryan K. Zinke

    Posted on 2015-02-12

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    ZINKE. Mr. Speaker, I wish to highlight an important bill that is being considered by the House today--the ``America Gives More Act of 2015 (H.R. 644).'' This legislation contains a package of four charitable giving incentives: the IRA charitable rollover; the enhanced deduction for donating food inventory; the simplification of the Private Foundation Excise Tax; and the enhanced deduction for donating conservation easements, the last of which is of critical importance to Montana.

    Since 2006, the enhanced tax incentive for qualified conservation easement donations has opened the door to voluntary, landowner-led conservation on millions of acres across the country. This provision allows Montanans, particularly our ranchers and farmers, who donate the development rights on their land to deduct a larger portion of their income over more years. It is common sense that modest income donors with highly valued lands should be allowed the same tax deductions they would have been entitled to if their incomes were larger.

    These donations are extraordinary in many ways. One of which is the time they take and the money they cost the donor. Decisions to give away what is often a family's most valuable asset routinely take more than a year and require hiring an attorney and an appraiser at considerable cost. Having this incentive expire after a year guarantees that most of the people who would most benefit from it will never even begin the process of considering it.

    I support this bill, especially when it benefits constituents like Dan Lilja. About 35 years ago he moved to rural western Montana after graduating from the University of Montana. He married a local, Sally, and started Lilja Precision Barrels in Plains, Montana, in 1985.

    [[Page H1014]] Dan's interest in bench shooting inspired him to design some of the world's best rifle barrels. Lilja barrels are used in rifles by the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, Coast Guard, the FBI, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Canadian Special Forces, among others. These customers demand the best and Lilja Precision Barrels delivers a quality product.

    Dan and Sally own property in Sanders County along the scenic Clark Fork River. They entered into a conservation easement with the Montana Land Reliance to protect this property from inappropriate subdivision and to provide critical winter and spring habitat for elk and big horn sheep.

    In a way that is both patriotic and conservation-minded, Dan and Sally have contributed to the health and preservation of western wildlife habitats and the security of our country. This is just one of the many stories of how conservation easements are preserving our rich heritage, and I call upon the House to support this bill for the betterment of not only Montana, but our country.

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