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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Senate Document No. 3

    Document Title
    Dedicated Revenue Sources for Land Conservation in Virginia

    Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission

    Enabling Authority
    SJR 335 (Regular Session, 2011)

    Executive Summary
    *The Executive Summary was replaced in its entirey by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, the title of the report was amended, and the print version of the report was posted on October 11, 2012.

    Senate Joint Resolution 335 (2011) directed JLARC to study long-term dedicated funding sources for land conservation and to identify and develop viable options for potential dedicated funding sources. Although the Commonwealth promotes land conservation through the land preservation tax credit, Virginia lacks a stable source of revenue for other conservation programs.

    The land preservation tax credit accounted for nearly 90 percent of Virginia’s financial support for land conservation over the last decade. The tax credit has been a relatively stable and cost-efficient method of conserving land, enabling the State to increase the total number of acres conserved by 24 percent between 2002 and 2011. Compared to grant and land acquisition programs, however, the tax credit has a relatively low ability to direct financial support toward conserving priority land, such as land with public access or significant conservation value. Grant and land acquisition programs have received a low share of land conservation revenue, and funding for grant programs has been unstable and difficult to predict.

    Virginia could maintain the current approach to funding land conservation if it wishes to emphasize the conservation of acreage, or it could adopt a balanced approach that gives increased emphasis to conserving priority land. The report includes several options for dedicated revenue sources that would allow Virginia to adopt a more balanced funding approach.