Roundup: Calif. Counties Want State to Pay

Rural California counties seek in-lieu-of-taxes payments from state • Anti-federal-government sentiment spilling over into local and state government opinions, Idaho’s lieutenant governor says •RCAC looks for notable rural volunteers.


Gatehouse News Service story on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on rural hospitals. A common thread in the coverage of ACA’s impact is that rural health-care providers in states that refuse to expand Medicaid are going to have a tougher time than states that chose to expand Medicaid.

Rural California Counties Want State to Resume Payments. Now that California is projecting better days for the state budget, rural leaders want the Department of Fish and Wildlife to make good on money they owe counties with large state wildlife management areas.

The state owes 36 California counties more than $17 million for “payments in lieu of taxes.” This is for a program that compensates counties that have large chunks of land taken out of the tax rolls by the establishment of wildlife management areas.

The state has failed to make the payments for more than a decade.

“We look forward to receiving these long past due payments that are so critical to helping fund local programs, operations, and improvements,” said Nate Beason, a Nevada County supervisor who is part of the Rural County Representatives of California. That group is pushing the state to get up to date on payments and resume annual funding of the program.

Idaho Leader Cites “Rural Animosity” toward Government. Animosity toward the federal government among Iodahoans is spilling over into attitudes toward state and local governments, said the state’s lieutenant governor, Brad Little.

Little was speaking at the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho yesterday.  The Spokesman Review reports:

“Particularly in the rural areas, there’s quite a bit of hostility out there.” Issues making Idahoans mad include the federal debt, gridlock and partisan bickering, he said.

Of the new budget deal in Congress, he said, “It’s a little bit of a relief to hear that we’re not going to go off one more fiscal cliff. … At least they got something done, right, wrong or indifferent.”

Idahoans are a little more amenable to their state and local governments, Little said, but, “We have to work a little bit harder because of that animosity that exists out there.”

Volunteer Award. Know any rural volunteers who do outstanding work in the West? The Rural Community Assistance Corporation would like to hear about them.

RCAC sponsors the Yoneo Ono Rural Volunteer Award. Nominations for the 2014 award are due April 13.  To be eligible for the award, the volunteer must be doing his or her service in the RCAC region (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and the western Pacific). And the service can’t be part of a paid position.

For a complete list of criteria and an application form, visit the RCAC website.