By WES SANDER

Capital Press

SACRAMENTO -- A bill to extend and expand California's Natural Heritage Preservation Tax Credit Program has gone to the governor on an Assembly vote of 67-9.

AB94, by Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, would extend the incentive program until 2015. The program allows tax credits of 55 percent of the value of land donated for preservation to a government agency or nonprofit.

The bill is supported by the California Cattlemen's Association and a long list of conservation organizations and districts.

The bill would remove the existing limit of $100 million in tax credits to be awarded. The program is estimated to cost the state's general fund $7 million annually, but that cost is reimbursed through state bond funds, federal and local money and donations.

The program can save 45 percent of the purchase price of land acquired for conservation, Evans says.

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