Idaho counties will get a $6 million boost in payments in lieu of taxes from the federal government for the 2018 fiscal year, the Department of the Interior announced Wednesday.
These payments, which the federal government makes to counties with large amounts of tax-exempt federal lands such as ones managed by the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management, totaled $464.6 million in 2017 and will total $552.8 million in 2018. Idaho’s share of this increased from $30 million to $36 million.
The payments are based on population and the amount of federally owned acreage. Bonneville, Fremont and Lemhi counties are the largest recipients in eastern Idaho. Bonneville’s share is increasing from $1.3 million to $1.56 million, while Fremont’s went from $1.19 million to $1.48 million, and Lemhi’s from $974,000 to $1.17 million. Bonneville is the sixth-biggest beneficiary of the payments in the state, after Blaine, Cassia, Idaho, Elmore and Twin Falls counties.
“Rural America, especially states out West with large federal land holdings, play a big part in feeding and powering the nation and also in providing recreation opportunities, but because the lands are federal, the local governments don’t earn revenue from them,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement. “PILT investments often serve as critical support for local communities as they juggle planning and paying for basic services, such as public safety, fire-fighting, social services, and transportation.”
Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.