The largest county payments programs (SRS and PILT) are expiring. Both are important to local government services, the economy, and public lands management. The pending sunset of county payments provides an opportunity for reform, and for a renewed commitment to counties.
The analysis tools below review the potential impacts of proposals suggested in the House, Senate, and by the President.
[Note: Headwaters Economics also has detailed research--including a White Paper on potential reforms along with eight interactive maps.]
House Proposal (Updated Feb. 16, 2012)
This analysis and interactive map review a House of Representatives proposal that would fund county payments with timber receipts, increasing commercial timber harvests on National Forests to replace SRS payments. The analysis projects required timber cuts, cost to taxpayers, and the impact on counties. The Congressional Budget Office also has analyzed the cost and impacts of the House bill.
Senate 2011 Proposal
Headwaters Economics analyzed a bi-partisan Senate bill which would extend SRS at declining levels (95% of the previous year’s payment from FY 2012-2016) and full funding for PILT for five more years. This interactive map which shows the impact of the Senate bill for counties and states.
President’s 2011 Proposal
We created three sets of analysis around President Obama’s proposed budget which would end all Secure Rural School payments within five years, faster for most counties, and return to revenue sharing payments funded by commodity receipts. The first interactive map shows how the proposal would impact every U.S. county, along with an analysis of two other reform ideas.
Using the President’s proposal as a funding baseline, second interactive analysis reapportions payments to counties based on economic need during the five-year transition period.
The third interactive map shows how revenue sharing payments (if SRS expires) would change if the program included the economic value of restoration and conservation efforts.
A short Summary and News Release provide background for the President’s Proposal, Economic Need, and Restoration/Conservation. The links below provide interactive and static maps along with methodology details:
Summary of All County Payments Research
This summary contains a brief description and links to all Headwaters Economics research on county payments.