National Forests:

Computing the 25-Percent Sharing Formula for Forest Service Timber Receipts

RCED-88-139BR: Published: May 9, 1988. Publicly Released: May 25, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO compared fiscal year 1986 payments at 13 national forests under the current method for sharing timber receipts with payments under four alternative methods to determine: (1) the impact of such changes on local revenues; and (2) how the changes would affect the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Act of 1976.

GAO found that: (1) the administration's proposal would have reduced payments by $13.4 million; and (2) alternative proposals would have reduced payments by $8 million, based on sharing timber receipts only, by $4.5 million, based on shared timber receipts and road construction credit, and by $3.5 million, based on shared timber receipts and reforestation. GAO also found that: (1) nationally, the alternatives would have reduced payments by $67 million, based on timber receipts only, by $37 million, based on timber receipts plus road construction credits, and by $29 million, based on timber receipts plus reforestation deposits; and (2) administration's proposal would have reduced 34 counties' combined PILT and the 25-percent timber payments from $12.8 million to $7.9 million.

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