Western Interstate Region

Register today for the 2020 WIR Conference, which brings together county officials from across the nation to focus on pressing issues facing counties and our residents.

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The Western Interstate Region is affiliated with the National Association of Counties and is dedicated to the promotion of Western interests within NACo. These interests include public land issues (use and conservation), community stability and economic development, and the promotion of the traditional Western way of life. Its membership consists of fifteen Western states, (Alaska, Hawaii, Wash., Ore., Calif., Idaho, Nev., Ariz., Mont., Wyo., Colo., N.M., Utah, N.D., S.D.) with membership funded through the individual state associations.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Mission Statement

The Western Interstate Region (WIR) exists to be the counties' advocate for public policy issues affecting the West.

Policy Briefs

Provide Full Mandatory Funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program

ACTION NEEDED:

Urge your members of Congress to support mandatory full funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. 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. Unless Congress acts, counties will have received their last fully-funded PILT disbursement in 2019.

Without mandatory full funding, PILT will remain a discretionary program (subject to the annual appropriations process) and could fall back to pre-2008 funding levels, which would devastate local government service delivery in areas with significant federal land ownership.

BACKGROUND:

The PILT program was created in 1976 to offset costs incurred by counties for services provided to federal employees and families, the public and to the users of public lands. Services include education, solid waste disposal, law enforcement, search and rescue, health care, environmental compliance, fire-fighting, parks and recreation and other important community services.

Annual PILT funding levels remained static for many years. For nearly two decades, counties watched the value of their PILT receipts drop due to inflation. In 1995, NACo was successful in securing an amendment to the PILT formula, (P.L. 103-397), which adjusted annual authorization levels for inflation.

PDF icon PILT FS FINAL August 2019.pdf

Continue Revenue Sharing Payments to Forest Counties: Support the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Program

ACTION NEEDED:

Urge your members of Congress to enact a long-term legislative solution for continued revenue sharing payments to forest counties through the U.S. Forest Service’s Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. Congress reauthorized SRS for FY 2017 and FY 2018 in the omnibus spending package enacted March 23, 2018 but have not reauthorized the program for FY 2019 and beyond. Counties rely on SRS payments to provide numerous critical services including infrastructure, conservation projects, search and rescue missions and fire prevention programs. The last authorized SRS payments were made to counties in spring 2019.

Further, Congress should reform forest management practices to improve forest health, increase production and ensure robust revenue sharing to all forest counties.

If Congress fails to renew the long-standing federal obligation to forest counties and to the lands managed by the federal government by not improving forest management and reauthorizing the SRS program, counties across the United States could face dramatic budgetary shortfalls. The last time authorization for SRS lapsed, in FY 2016, federal forest payments to counties decreased by over 80 percent on average.

PDF icon SRS FS FINAL August 2019.pdf

Latest Resources

  • Reports & Toolkits | Jan. 13, 2020

    NACo works to preserve local decision making, protect counties from unfunded mandates and preemption and strengthen the federal-state-local partnership.

  • Video | Nov. 21, 2019

    Wrangell Borough, Alaska Mayor Stephen Prysunka testifies before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on behalf of NACo at a hearing supporting full PILT funding and SRS reauthorization.

  • Video | Sep. 11, 2019

    As part of the 2019 PILT Fly-In, NACo hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill to share the importance of the PILT program with Members of Congress and their staffs.

Western Interstate Region Board of Directors

President

Kevin Cann
Supervisor
Mariposa County, California

 

First Vice President

Greg Chilcott
Commissioner
Ravalli County, Montana

 

Second Vice President

Mark Whitney
Commissioner
Beaver County, Utah

 

Immediate Past President

Tommie Martin
Supervisor
Gila County, Arizona

 

Contact

  • Associate Legislative Director – Public Lands and Liaison to the Western Interstate Region  
    (202) 942-4207