The Interior Department announced Idaho's 44  counties will be receiving a combined $35.9 million under a program intended to offset the loss of property taxes on federally managed land within the state.

Photo by: Fudo Jahic on Unsplash
Photo by: Fudo Jahic on Unsplash
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In March, President Biden signed an appropriations bill that includes full funding of $549.4 million for Payments in Lieu of Taxes, aka PILT, for 2022, with the payments to states now finalized.

Roughly 63% of Idaho is federally managed lands, and its PILT payment is the seventh-largest in the country this year. Impressive! California will be receiving the most money at about $59 million, followed by New Mexico, and Utah at about $44 million each.

Photo by: Ryan Fish on Unsplash
Photo by: Ryan Fish on Unsplash
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Idaho's PILT payment is up from last year, when the state received $34.5 million.

In a statement, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said, "This program is an important example of the federal government's commitment to continuing to be a good neighbor to the communities we serve."

So, will we be seeing the money? What will it be going towards? Haaland continued, "The nearly $550 million being distributed will help local governments carry out vital services, such as firefighting and police protection, construction of public schools and roads, and search-and-rescue operations."

Photo by: Perry Kibler on Unsplash
Photo by: Perry Kibler on Unsplash
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These PILT payments are made each year by the Interior Department and its agencies, which includes the Bureau of Land Management. Said payments also cover federal lands administered by the Forest Service and other similar agencies.

Here in Idaho, Elmore Country will be receiving the most money at $2.7 million, with Cassia and Blaine County at roughly $2.5 million. Payments are calculated based on how many acres of federal land within each county or jurisdiction and the population of said area.

Photo by: Vidar Nordli Mathisen on Unsplash
Photo by: Vidar Nordli Mathisen on Unsplash
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The PILT program has often been criticized by U.S. lawmakers for the payments being undependable or insufficient. Last month, lawmakers in Idaho on the Federalism Committee hired a Utah company for $250,000 to appraise federal land in three counties to see how much tax revenue the land would generate if it were to be privately owned and thus subject to property taxes.

Some Idaho legislatures have said that the state should receive more money than it has gotten from the PILT program. The results from the appraisal by the Utah company, Aeon AI, could bolster that argument.

Photo by: Kevin Fitzgerald on Unsplash
Photo by: Kevin Fitzgerald on Unsplash
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