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NACo > Legislation & Policy > Washington Watch > Posts > ​County Leaders Urge Congress to Support PILT Funding
September 13
​County Leaders Urge Congress to Support PILT Funding
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Pam Haze, deputy assistant secretary of the Interior for Budget, Finance, Performance and Acquisition, greets Commissioner John Martin, Garfield County, Colo., WIR president, and other county officials before a briefing at Interior on PILT. Read NACo’s press release on the PILT Fly-in here.

On September 11 and 12, a select group of county leaders representing counties in 15 states urged Congress to keep its promise to counties and communities and pass mandatory funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program for FY2014 and beyond. NACo's Western Interstate Region (WIR) assembled a team of county officials from public lands counties across the country to urge Administration officials as well as members of Congress and key Congressional staff to ensure that the federal payments are not disrupted. The “fly in” advocacy efforts were led by NACo WIR President John Martin, commissioner, chair, Garfield County, CO and NACo Public Lands Steering Committee Chair Mike Murray, commissioner, Lewis and Clark County, MT.    

In addition to meetings with over 50 Congressional offices, NACo hosted an educational Hill briefing on the history of PILT and importance of continued funding in the United States Capitol that was attended by over 50 House and Senate staffers. County leaders also met with Department of the Interior deputy assistant secretary Pam Haze to discuss the administration’s support for full mandatory PILT funding in the President’s FY 2014 Budget request. Additionally, county officials conducted a critical conversation about long term options for future program funding.

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Click on the image to view an updated presentation on the history
 and current status of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.

Congress has yet to act on securing continued mandatory PILT funding for next year. Without additional mandatory funding, PILT will revert to a discretionary program subject to the annual appropriations process, which county leaders fear could jeopardize continued full funding for PILT. In addition to the FY2014 funding request, NACo plans to advocate for a long-term funding solution for annual PILT payments. NACo adopted new policy in July at its annual conference in Tarrant County, TX that supports designating the Land and Water Conservation Fund as a sustainable source of funding for Payment in Lieu of Taxes.

The PILT program provides payments to counties and other local governments to offset losses in tax revenues due to the presence of substantial acreage of federal land in their jurisdictions. Since federal land is not taxable by local governments, public land counties have historically struggled to provide adequate services to the public in light of the annual losses in tax revenue. In many counties, more than 50 percent of land is owned by the federal government. 

PILT payments allow local governments to provide critical government services such as education, solid waste disposal, law enforcement, search and rescue, health care, environmental compliance, firefighting and parks and recreation.

NACo’s Public Lands Committee Chair and Lewis & Clark County, MT Commissioner Mike Murray along with Garfield County, CO Commission Chair and Western Interstate Region President John Martin are featured in a video interview detailing the importance of PILT to America’s local governments.

Contact: Ryan Yates at ryates@naco.org or 202.942.4207

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