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Cash or Credit? Conservation Outcomes Under Alternative Funding Mechanisms

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Abstract:

Providing income tax credits as an alternative to cash payments for conservation activities is garnering increasing interest amongst policy makers. Are tax credits simply an alternate form of payment? Or would the shift away from cash payments affect conservation program participation and outcomes?

The 2007 Farm Bill under debate in the Senate includes provisions for offering participants in selected Federal conservation programs the option of receiving payment in the form of income tax credits. If signed into law, this legislation would allow participants to opt for tax credits in lieu of rental payments in the Conservation Reserve Program, easement payments in the Wetlands Reserve Program and Grasslands Reserve Program, and conservation activities related to endangered species protection.

Whether income tax credits affect conservation costs and benefits or merely shift cash expenditures to an alternative form of payment depends on several factors – including whether potential participants view tax credits as a more valuable alternative to cash payments, which gives them an incentive to enroll land they otherwise would not. Using models of participation in the CRP and other data, we consider these incentive effects and estimate that a tax credit would expand the acres offered to CRP by 20%, increase total program costs by 18%, and increase expected environmental benefits by 6%. Analysis of existing contract and tax data reveal that in easement programs, tax credits are likely to have a limited impact, largely because the pool of individuals who would benefit from tax credits is much smaller.
Convention
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Association:
Name: SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION SOCIETY
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http://www.swcs.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p235504_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Nickerson, Cindy., Claassen, Roger., Durst, Ron., Hansen, LeRoy. and Hellerstein, Dan. "Cash or Credit? Conservation Outcomes Under Alternative Funding Mechanisms" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION SOCIETY, TBA, Tucson, Arizona, Jul 26, 2008 <Not Available>. 2013-12-14 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p235504_index.html>

APA Citation:

Nickerson, C. , Claassen, R. , Durst, R. , Hansen, L. and Hellerstein, D. , 2008-07-26 "Cash or Credit? Conservation Outcomes Under Alternative Funding Mechanisms" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION SOCIETY, TBA, Tucson, Arizona <Not Available>. 2013-12-14 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p235504_index.html

Publication Type: Oral Presentation
Abstract: Providing income tax credits as an alternative to cash payments for conservation activities is garnering increasing interest amongst policy makers. Are tax credits simply an alternate form of payment? Or would the shift away from cash payments affect conservation program participation and outcomes?

The 2007 Farm Bill under debate in the Senate includes provisions for offering participants in selected Federal conservation programs the option of receiving payment in the form of income tax credits. If signed into law, this legislation would allow participants to opt for tax credits in lieu of rental payments in the Conservation Reserve Program, easement payments in the Wetlands Reserve Program and Grasslands Reserve Program, and conservation activities related to endangered species protection.

Whether income tax credits affect conservation costs and benefits or merely shift cash expenditures to an alternative form of payment depends on several factors – including whether potential participants view tax credits as a more valuable alternative to cash payments, which gives them an incentive to enroll land they otherwise would not. Using models of participation in the CRP and other data, we consider these incentive effects and estimate that a tax credit would expand the acres offered to CRP by 20%, increase total program costs by 18%, and increase expected environmental benefits by 6%. Analysis of existing contract and tax data reveal that in easement programs, tax credits are likely to have a limited impact, largely because the pool of individuals who would benefit from tax credits is much smaller.

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