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Congressional Champions Urge Full Funding for PILT

On March 18, 2016, Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), along with over 30 cosponsors, sent a letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee urging Congress to work together to fully fund the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.  A similar letter was sent to the House Appropriations Committee on March 22, 2016, led by Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.)  and signed by over 80 members of the House of Representatives.  A copy of each letter, including a list of signers, can be found here.

NACo applauds the efforts of our House and Senate champions and the over 120 members of the House and Senate who signed the letters in support of PILT.  We encourage county officials to thank those members of the House and Senate who signed these important letters for their leadership and urge Congress to reaffirm the federal government’s long-standing commitment to public lands counties by fully funding PILT in FY 2017 and beyond.

The U.S. Department of the Interior estimates that $480 million dollars will be needed in order to fully fund PILT in FY 2017. The PILT program provides payments to local governments in 49 states and nearly 1,900 counties to fund critical services and offset forgone property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt federal lands within their jurisdictions. Despite a Constitutional inability to collect property taxes on federal land, counties must still provide essential services to residents and the millions of people who visit our federal public lands each year. These services include infrastructure maintenance, education, law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency medical and fire protection services, solid waste disposal and environmental compliance. Current discretionary appropriations for the PILT program are set to expire on September 30, 2016. Without the certainty of full funding for PILT, counties across the nation will be unable to provide these necessary services for public lands residents and visitors.

Please thank your members of Congress that signed these letters for their support of the PILT program.  A copy of each of the letters, which includes a list of cosponsors, is available here.

NACo Resources:

Contact: Chris Marklund at cmarklund@naco.org or 202.942.4207

About Austin Igleheart (Full Bio)

Legislative Associate

Austin joined NACo in January of 2015 and serves as a NACo legislative associate. He is responsible for writing and editing blog articles and advocacy materials, conducting legislative research and providing administrative support for the Legislative Department.