Idaho Lawmakers Want Federal Crown Land To Be Assessed For Taxes | Idaho News
By KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Lawmakers in Idaho are looking for tech companies to assess federal lands in real time to find out how much money lawmakers say the federal government should pay the state in property taxes if the lands were private.
The Committee on Federalism, which deals with issues of state sovereignty, released what is known as a Request for Information last month, asking companies to submit ideas by November 8. The committee has a budget of $ 250,000 for the project.
Idaho is roughly 63% of federal Crown lands. But this land is not taxable by local governments.
Home Secretary Deb Haaland announced in June that a federal program called PILT, or payment in lieu of taxes, would send $ 530 million this year to help counties pay for continued community services. Idaho received $ 34.5 million, but some state lawmakers say Idaho should receive more.
The committee’s action follows the passage by House and Senate lawmakers in April of a concurrent resolution directing the committee to determine how much money federal public lands would generate in property taxes if they were private.
The resolution does not say what the committee should do with this information once it is obtained.
“That’s not to say that we don’t sympathize with the counties, but from our perspective, we don’t see much point in having a large number that you can wave in the air,” said Jonathan Oppenheimer of Idaho Conservation League. “It really won’t change much. “
The action by Idaho lawmakers is accompanied by legislation introduced by a U.S. Senate committee in March by the state’s two Republican senators. Senses Jim Risch and Mike Crapo proposed legislation to determine each year the value of land covered by the LTIP program, the amount of tax revenue the land would generate if it were owned by individuals, and how payments to states might reflect more. precisely these tax revenues.
This bill did not get out of committee.
U.S. lawmakers on both sides have occasionally challenged the LTCP program and its payments, especially western states such as Idaho with significant federal land.
Payments are made annually by the Home Office and its agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management. The payments also cover federal lands administered by the US Forest Service and other agencies.
Payments are calculated based on the number of acres of federal land in each county or jurisdiction and the population of that county or jurisdiction.
Idaho politicians in the resolution passed earlier this year challenge this method.
“Regardless of the long-standing debate over whether the federal government should ever relinquish control of Idaho lands, as long as the federal government refuses to allow the lands to be taxed, the federal government should pay the total amount instead of tax revenue. denied our taxing entities, ”says the resolution.
Idaho and other states, including Utah, have for years tried to find a way for states to take control of federal public lands that never belonged to the states, but have so far failed. .
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