Idaho’s 44 counties got $26.5 million in payments from the federal government in lieu of taxes for its lands in the state.
More than 60 percent of Idaho is federal public land and Idaho’s payments are part of a record $393 million payments to 2,000 local governments nationwide, the largest amount ever distributed.
“It is hard to overstate the impact of (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) funding for rural counties in particular, where these investments can make the difference in keeping a search and rescue crew on the job or a teacher in the classroom,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. “It is a program we firmly believe should be extended, and we hope Congress will take the action that’s needed.”
This year’s PILT program is the last to be funded under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which enacted a five-year authorization for funding full entitlement levels of the program. The 2013 budget proposes a one-year extension that includes the current formula based on number of acres and population.
County officials for years have complained because the PILT payments were never fully funded until 2008. Even then they say they don't cover full costs. But then again the federal government pays to fight fires.
Elmore County, which has 1,355,467 acres of public land got the highest payment of $2.2 million. Idaho County has the most acres, 4,520,215, but it only got $1.5 million.
Lewis County only had 3,082 acres and got only $7,605. Here's a site to get the PILT payments by county.