By Bill Theobald | Republic Washington
In a rite that has become as certain as the sprouting of the cherry blossoms, county officials have descended on Congress this week to ask for renewal of a program that provides millions to compensate communities with large swaths of federal land exempt from taxation.
Earlier this summer, a record $452 million was distributed under the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program, with Arizona receiving $35 million, the fifth-highest total for any state. More than 40 percent of the state is owned by the federal government.
The money is used to maintain roads, provide law enforcement and fund schools, among other things.