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Hats off to Alaska’s U.S. senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, for stepping up to right an oversight in the 1971 Alaska Native Lands Claim Settlement Act, which bypassed several Southeast Alaska Native communities.

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Today's the final day to apply for the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend — don't miss the opportunity.

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Caroline Lucille Hendrixson, 90, died March 27, 2015, in Ketchikan.
Ira Marlin Gross, 55, died Feb. 12, 2015, in Anchorage.
James Michael Beard, 59, died March 13, 2015, in Ketchikan.
6/19/2014
PILT appreciated

Payment in lieu of taxes is the federal government doing its duty to the states and their communities.

Alaska will receive $28.5 million this year. Of that, Ketchikan will receive $1.1 million — $100,000 more than the Ketchikan Gateway Borough anticipated.

PILT subsidizes governments that lose tax revenue because the federal government doesn't pay taxes on federally owned land within their boundaries.

The feds expect to pay out $463.9 million in 2014 following a one-year extension of the program. To continue the program, it will have to be extended again.

When Congress is looking at ways to cut spending, it has considered PILT. But if it seriously looks at cuts to the program, then it also should consider in tandem transferring some federal land to the states. Then the states could arrange for the land to be transferred into the ownership of taxpayers. Taxpayers would develop the land — preferably near communities — to realize additional taxes to support local public services.

Until then, the communities need and appreciate PILT.