State and federal fiscal policies hurt rural communities by limiting how local governments can grow, diversify, and invest revenue.
Most U.S. states are adding electricity generation capacity faster than capacity is being retired. Renewable energy adds the most capacity in 18 states.
The capacity to generate electricity has transitioned from coal to natural gas to renewable energy, a trend projected to continue.
Where rural recreation counties rely on public funding for health care, fiscal solutions should diversify the ways local governments can save and spend.
The bipartisan Forest Health for Rural Stability Act would establish a federal land endowment and resolve key challenges of federal land payments to counties.
View a presentation given at the Our America’s Rural Opportunity forum about the context of public lands and the rural west.
Analysis shows raising Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) population limits for small-population counties would have increased total payments by $2 million in 2019.
States were granted trust lands by the U.S. Congress to generate revenue to fund public institutions, primarily public schools.
Overspending of state trust permanent funds reduces future school funding and incentivizes sales of trust land and nonrenewable resources.
Changing economies, new land uses, shifting social values, and political pressure create challenges for state trust land managers.
Advocates of transferring federal land to states point to the superior ability of state trust lands to generate revenue, but our analysis finds significant economic and fiscal disadvantages.
The most effective fiscal policies for communities facing transition away from coal dependency are those that build wealth over time and strengthen community capacity.
Rural and isolated communities face wrenching economic and demographic transitions. A solution to uncertainty is to focus on resilience.
Updated: Headwaters Economics produced two interactive maps to show the range of commercial activities on National Forests at the Forest, state and forest region levels.
New fiscal and policy assessments help local leaders understand their exposure to declining revenue and policy barriers during a coal transition.
A recent review published in the Resources Policy journal with researchers at Montana State University shows that coal communities lack strong transition plans and largely are unprepared for coming changes.
Reforming county payments by establishing a permanent Trust to fund Secure Rural Schools (SRS).
Coal fiscal policies vary widely across the West in terms of how revenue is generated, set aside in permanent savings, or spent by state and local governments.
A guide to planning for the long-term social, economic and environmental well-being of the community of Colstrip, Montana.
New analysis and interactive map show how the President’s budget proposal cuts county payments and the impact for every county in the nation.