WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced today that more than 1,900 local governments around the country will receive $514.7 million in Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funding for 2019.
“Payments in lieu of taxes are made to local governments to help offset their inability to tax federal property,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “These payments are one example of the United States striving to be a good neighbor to local communities. This year’s distribution of $514 million to more than 1,900 counties will help small towns pay for critical needs like emergency response, public safety, public schools, housing, social services, and infrastructure.”
“I was pleased to hear that 2019 PILT payments are going out today and appreciate Secretary Bernhardt’s support of the program,” said Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04). “Many counties in the West have over 90% of their land area owned by the federal government, meaning rural communities are deprived of desperately needed tax revenue from those lands. Thankfully, PILT compensates counties for some of this lost revenue and allow local governments to provide critical health, education, road maintenance, and emergency services to their residents and federal lands visitors. Since coming to Congress I have always fought to fully-fund PILT.”
PILT payments help local governments carry out such vital services as firefighting and police protection, construction of public schools and roads, and search-and-rescue operations. The payments are made annually for tax-exempt federal lands administered by U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) agencies including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and for federal water projects and some military installations.
Using a statutory formula, the annual PILT payments to local governments are computed based on the number of acres of federal land within each county or jurisdiction and on the population of that county or jurisdiction. The lands include the national forest and national park systems; lands in the FWS Refuge System; areas managed by the BLM; areas managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water resource development projects; and others.
Since PILT payments began in 1977, DOI has distributed approximately $9.2 billion dollars to States and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
DOI collects more than $11.9 billion in revenue annually from commercial activities on public lands, such as oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing, and timber harvesting. A portion of these revenues is shared with States and counties. The balance is deposited in the U.S. Treasury, which in turn pays for a broad array of federal activities, including PILT funding.
Individual county payments may vary from year to year as a result of changes in acreage data, which is updated annually by the federal agency administering the land; prior-year Federal revenue sharing payments reported annually by the Governor of each State; and population data, which is updated using information from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Federal revenue sharing payments are made to local governments under programs other than PILT during the previous fiscal year, including payments such as those made under the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act, the Refuge Revenue Sharing Fund, the National Forest Fund, the Taylor Grazing Act, the Mineral Leasing Act, the Federal Power Act, and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, as authorized.
A full list of funding by state and county is available at www.doi.gov/pilt.