Paper Calls Payments for State-Owned Lands “Fair”

The Cumberland Times-News penned an editorial supporting a bill to compensate counties for state-owned lands. MACo has supported SB 263, which would create a “payment in lieu of taxes” structure to support local services provided to tax-exempt state property.

From the Times-News editorial:

This is land which, if held by private interests, would generate property taxes for the counties. Because the state owns it, the counties get relatively little in the form of a percentage of revenue the land generates through such things as tourism, camping fees, concession stands and timber harvesting. However, that money has dwindled in recent years.

In addition, counties have responsibilities for state-owned land within their boundaries, even though they receive no property tax revenue from it, and that includes maintenance of roads.

“If there is a fire in those state forests,” said Edwards, “the local fire department is the one that goes and fights those fires; same with a medical emergency — the ones that take care of that are the local emergency medical people.”

Read MACo’s testimony online.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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