The Secure Rural Schools Act, Federal Land Payments, and Property Tax Equivalency

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Abstract:

Federal land payments are a very important source of revenue for many county governments in the west. The concern of many is the extent to which these payments are equivalent to property tax revenues those lands would likely have generated if taxed as similar lands. Sustained decreases in federal revenue-sharing payments, along with passage of the Secure Rural Schools Act of 2000, have rekindled interest in this area. Building on a 1997 analysis of property tax equivalency, we simulated the effect of this new legislation on property tax equivalency for sampled counties aggregated to three western and one eastern region. Analyses confirm substantial increases in federal land payments and a corresponding improvement in overall tax equivalency throughout the country. However, much of the improvement is due to increased federal payments to counties that were already tax equivalent. Regardless of region, tax equivalent counties are more frequently characterized by lower taxes than higher federal land payments. West. J. Appl. For. 20(1):50–57.

Keywords: 25% Fund; Revenue sharing; environmental management; federal land payments; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Rocky Mountain Research Station USDA Forest Service Missoula MT 59807 Phone: (406) 542-4174;, Fax: (406) 543-2663, Email: kgebert@fs.fed.us 2: Rocky Mountain Research Station USDA Forest Service Missoula MT 59807

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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