The other day, Idaho Statesman columnist/reporter/press secretary to the political establishment, Dan Popkey, smacked GOP congressional challenger Bryan Smith for berating a federal welfare program known as Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT). The program is a congressional creation (read: dubious), but western communities have come to depend on PILT funding, such as it is. PILT provides a revenue stream to counties that have no ability to generate tax income because much of the land in the county belongs to the national government. The program, noted Popkey in his words, means “Idaho’s 44 counties will receive $26.3 million from PILT to compensate for 32.6 million acres in federal ownership.” Wrote Popkey, “Smith dismissed the program as ‘begging for crumbs’ and said he would focus on convincing Congress to ‘give back’ federal land to Idaho and other states.” Smith dismissed the federal handout, so Popkey decided to dismiss Smith/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Do you think Idaho has a ghost of a chance of gaining control of federal land within its borders?