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Record PILT payments coming to counties

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The Department of the Interior is paying over $552.8 million to counties in 2018 through PILT

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced June 27 that over $552.8 million will be distributed to counties in 2018 through the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.

This represents the largest total PILT disbursement to date since the program was first enacted in 1976.

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PILT funding by state and county

The PILT program provides payments to counties and other local governments to offset losses in tax revenues due to the presence of substantial federal land acreage within their jurisdictions.

Because local governments are unable to tax the property values or products derived from federal lands, PILT payments are necessary to support essential local government services — those mandated by law — such as education, emergency services, transportation infrastructure, law enforcement and health care.

More than 1,900 counties in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Island receive PILT payments.

Since PILT payments began over 40 years ago, the Department of Interior has invested about $8.5 billion dollars through the PILT program in counties across the country.

As Secretary Zinke stated in his announcement, “These investments are one of the ways the federal government is fulfilling its role of being a good land manager and good neighbor to local communities.”

“PILT investments often serve as critical support for local communities as they juggle planning and paying for basic services, such as public safety, fire-fighting, social services, and transportation,” he said.

NACo applauds Congress and the administration for this record investment in the PILT program and for their support of America’s public lands counties.

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About Jonathan Shuffield (Full Bio)

Associate Legislative Director – Public Lands and Liaison to the Western Interstate Region

Jonathan Shuffield serves as NACo’s Associate Legislative Director for Public Lands and Liaison to the Western Interstate Region, lobbying Congress on public lands issues including Payments In Lieu of Taxes, Secure Rural Schools, land management and endangered species.