The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) saw the revenue for fiscal year 2011 (July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011) increase from the previous year for the Agriculture and Grazing Program. Revenue increased for dryland, orchard/vineyard, and grazing categories. Revenue increased 11.8% from the previous year to $13.7 million.
Several factors contributed to the revenue increase
- Lessees are working with the Department’s Land Managers in implementation of best management and sustainable land management practices.
- Commodity prices were generally favorable.
- There was adequate rainfall in the dryland regions to generate higher production per acre than normal.
- Several orchards and vineyards planted in recent years are maturing and producing higher yields.
Revenue from 85 percent of state trust lands in agriculture and grazing production are Common School Trust Lands, given to the state at statehood in 1889. Income earned from activities on school trust lands helps build public schools statewide—generally providing higher matching funds to poorer school districts, helping to equalize education opportunities.
County Income Also Up Through Leasehold Revenues
Counties in which DNR leases state trust properties saw increased revenue from the Leasehold Excise Tax. Washington does not pay real property tax or property taxes. To address this, the 1976 State Legislature enacted the Leasehold Tax Law (RCW 82.29A) as an excise tax—a way for counties and others that offer public services to state-owned properties fair compensation for those services.
The leasehold tax on DNR’s cash rent leases is collected with rent payments, at 12.84 percent; on crop share leases taxes are collected as an additional amount of the crop, at 8.6 percent. Currently 53 percent goes to the General Fund and 47 percent to the counties in which property is located. The State Treasurer distributes payments to the counties.