Handouts by the numbers
Counties with national forest or park land in their borders get two types of money from the federal government: payment in lieu of taxes, known as PILT, and a 25 percent cut of logging revenue.
Payment in lieu of taxes is just what the name implies. The federal government doesn’t pay property taxes on national parks and forests but instead compensates counties to the tune of $1.42 per acre. PILT payments are not on the chopping block and will continue regardless of what happens with the national forest land sale.
The 25 percent share of logging revenue goes specifically to schools in the county where the logging occurred. Except it’s not really 25 percent anymore. In the face of declining logging in national forests, Congress in 2000 approved fixed payments based on past logging averages. But the Bush Administration has proposed sell select parcels of national forest land, which would generate enough revenue for two more years of the school payments. Here’s what each county got in 2005.
Haywood — Money to schools: $49,000 • PILT: $192,000
Jackson — Money to schools: $60,000 • PILT $114,000
Macon — Money to schools: $121,000 • PILT: $218,000
Swain — Money to schools: $17,000 • PILT: $341,000
Graham — Money to schools: $93,000 • PILT: $162,000
Clay — Money to schools: $53,000 • PILT: $94,000
Cherokee — Money to schools: $76,000 • PILT: $132,000