PILT Payments & History

The total of the Payment of Lieu of Taxes (PILT) payments dispersed to Montana Counties for FY 2019 (dispersed June 2019) is $33,990,204, compared to $40,073,049 received last June (FFY 2018 payment)—a decrease of $6,082,845.  This decrease is due to the deduction of prior-year payments from the total.  This year’s “prior-year payments” deduction adds up to $163,395,154.  The most substantial change in prior-year payment deductions was due to the increase in Timber payments, which reflects the effect of reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program (SRS was not reauthorized for FY 2016, but then in 2018 it was reauthorized for FY 2018 as well as a retroactive payment for FY 2017).  We have included more information regarding “prior-year payments” in the narrative below.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  In order to receive PILT Payments a county MUST be registered with Central Contracting Information (CCR).  If your county did not receive an ACH payment, please go to the BLM PILT website for more information: http://www.doi.gov/pilt/.

Click the button below to download the Excel spreadsheet containing the specifics of the PILT payments that were issued to Montana’s counties by the Bureau of Land Management.

2019 Changes

In general, most States received lower PILT payments in FY 2019 due to a significant increase in prior-year payment deductions. As a general rule, when prior-year payment deductions go up, the PILT calculation goes down. The driving force behind the significant  decrease in FY 2019 is due to a 122% increase in prior-year payment deductions. The most substantial change in prior-year payment deductions was due to the increase in Timber payments (255%), which reflects the effect of reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. Also of note were the increase in Forest Service Bankhead-Jones (75%) and in Mineral Leasing (12%) prior-year payment deductions.

What Are Prior Year Payments?

Prior-year payments are Federal payments to local governments under programs other than PILT made during the previous fiscal year. These payments include those made under the Refuge Revenue Sharing Fund, the National Forest Fund, the Taylor Grazing Act, the Mineral Leasing Act for acquired lands, the Federal Power Act, and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000. The PILT Act requires each State to report these payments to the Department each year.

Previous Fiscal Years’ Prior-Year Payment Deductions (This is from TOTAL PILT Payments to All US Counties):

  • 2019 (current) is $163,395,154
  • 2018 was $ 73,943,795
  • 2017 was $204,061,818
  • 2016 was $223,760,950
  • 2015 was $231,849,022
  • 2014 was $236,072,405
  • 2013 was $257,628,978
  • 2012 was $298,066,535
  • 2011 was $316,196,992
  • 2010 was $360,412,929
  • 2009 was $306,923,556
  • 2008 was $293,060,111

Formula

BLM computes payments authorized under section 6902 of the Act using the greater of the following two alternatives:

(A) $2.77 (in 2019) times the number of acres of qualified Federal land in the unit of local government (as defined previously), reduced by the amount of funds received by the locality in the prior fiscal year under certain other Federal land revenue sharing programs, such as Secure Rural Schools or the mineral leasing.

-or-

(B) $0.39 (in 2019) times the number of acres of qualified Federal land in the unit of local government, with no deduction for prior-year payments.

Inflation

Both alternatives are subject to a population ceiling limitation computed by multiplying the county population times a corresponding dollar value (adjusted annually for inflation since the law was amended in 1994) contained in the Act.

A Big Thank You

This would be a good opportunity to reach out to our Congressional delegation to thank them for their support of the PILT Program and to tell them its importance to your county and how it is being used to fund essential services.  Click here for contact information.

History of Previous Recent Payments

  • The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 (P.L. 116-6) reauthorized the PILT Program for FY 2019.  U.S. Counties received a total of $514.7 million in payments in June 2019, which is roughly $38.1 million less than FY 2018.
  • The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (P.L. 115–141) reauthorized the PILT Program for FY2018. Congress appropriated PILT at $552.8 million for payments to counties in June 2018, which is roughly $88.2 million more than FY2017.
  • The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-31) reauthorized the PILT Program for FY2017.  Congress appropriated $464.6 million for payments to counties in June 2017, which is roughly $13 million more than FY2016.
  • The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (P.L.114-113) reauthorized the PILT Program for FY2016.  Congress appropriated $451.6 million for payments to counties in June 2016, which is roughly $12.5 million more than FY2015.
  • For FY 2015 Congress appropriated nearly $405 million for PILT payments made to counties in June 2015. Congress also appropriated an additional $37 million in PILT funding, which became available in October 2015. The Continuing Appropriations Act of 2016, (P.L. 114-53) directed these funds be applied to the fiscal year 2015 PILT program. The $37 million was subject to a 6.8 percent sequestration reduction – a set of automatic spending cuts required under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA, P.L. 112-25) – leaving $34,484,000 in additional funds available for payments to local governments. That brought the total of PILT payments in 2015 to $439,084,000.
  • The Agriculture Act of 2014 (H.R. 2642 / Public Law 113-79) authorized full funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program for fiscal year 2014. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (P.L. 112-141), reauthorized PILT for 2013 and funded full entitlement levels of the program.  From 2008 through 2012, the program was funded under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.