January 22, 2009 9:18 AM
Easements bill passes House
The House voted 47-16 for House Bill 1014, which provides more resources to the Division of Real Estate to provide oversight of conservation easements, where a state income tax credit is claimed. The bill now goes to the Senate.
The Rocky has written extensively about the easements, which are the subject of a grand jury investigation and at least one lawsuit.
Conservation easements are legal tools that protect scenic lands by permanently prohibiting development. In return for giving up development rights, landowners receive lucrative state income tax credits that can be sold for cash. The value of the tax credits is derived from real estate appraisals.
But Colorado's program has been plagued by the use of overinflated appraisals and land transactions of questionable public value.