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Leave it to Alaska’s 29th Legislature to screw up what should have been a slam dunk. (Perhaps it is 29 and a half? What exactly is the proper nomenclature when the 29th’s first session has gone to an extra session, then that extra session has been adjourned and a new extra session called so that the Legislature can legally pack up its bags and move to Anchorage before settling on a working budget?)

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Raymond Charles Hewson, 76, died May 13, 2015, in Anchorage.
Hannah Hurley, 82, died May 17, 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.