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Idaho Counties To Share Millions In Federal Land Payments

Dead Tree Sunrise
Sadie Babits
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho counties will share more than $26 million as part of the 2012 Payment in Lieu of Taxes program or PILT. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar made the announcement Thursday.

Blaine, Cassia, and Elmore counties will get the largest payments, around $2 million per county.  The payments offset losses in property taxes on nontaxable federal lands. More than 60 percent of Idaho's land is public.

“Too often, rural communities have been forgotten by the policies of Washington, DC, but President Obama has made job creation and opportunity in rural areas a top priority for his Administration,” Secretary Salazar said in a press release.

“Over the last three years we have fought for and delivered on the promise that the federal government should compensate local governments for lost tax revenue from federal lands, so that they can provide essential public services such as police, fire protection and emergency response programs.”

Counties across the U.S. will share $393 million in PILT funds. This is the last year that the PILT program will be funded under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. That act put in place five years of authorized funding for the program.  

According to an Interior Department news release the 2013 budget proposes a one-year extension for the current program:

The Interior Department collects about $16 billion in revenue annually from commercial activities on Federal lands, such as oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing and timber harvesting. A portion of these revenues are shared with states and counties in the form of revenue-sharing payments. The balance is deposited in the U.S. Treasury, which in turn pays for a broad array of Federal activities, including PILT funding to counties.


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