Published June 29, 2020

The 2020 Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) payments were made on or about June 29, 2020, to more than 1,900 local government entities across the United States. On December 20, 2019, the President signed the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-94) which appropriated full funding for PILT. The total amount of funding authorized for the FY 2020 PILT program is $515,084,460. Of this amount, $514,372,212 is for FY 2020 payments, $312,248 is for FY 2019 payment adjustments, and $400,000 is for administration of the program. Total funding issued to local governments is $514,684,460, which includes both the FY 2020 payments and the FY 2019 payment adjustments.

NOTE: In FY 2020, the overall total PILT decreased from $515.7 million to $514.7 million. The net change was driven by an increase in total prior-year payment deductions, centralized in the increased prior-year payment deduction submissions from North Dakota and Oregon. Generally, when prior-year payment deductions go up, the PILT calculation goes down; however, because the increase in prior-year payment deductions is so localized in FY 2020, most States received an increased payment above FY 2019 levels.

The total PILT payments dispersed to Montana Counties for FY 2020 is $35,166,221, compared to $33,990,204 received last June (FFY 2019 payment)—an increase of $1,176,017.

PILT program eligibility is reserved for local governments (mostly rural counties) that contain nontaxable Federal lands and provide vital services, such as public safety, housing, social services and transportation. Those jurisdictions provide significant support for national parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas throughout the year. PILT seeks to compensate local governments for their support and foregoing tax revenue from these Federal lands.

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 U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management.

Background

The annual PILT payments to local governments are computed based on the number of acres of Federal entitlement land within each county or jurisdiction. Federal entitlement lands include acreage within the National Forest and National Park Systems, those managed by the Bureau of Land Management, those affected by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water resources development projects, and certain other Federal lands. Individual county payments may increase or decrease from the prior year due to changes in computation variables including prior-year payments, inflation, acreage, and population.

What Does an Increase or Decrease in Payment Mean?

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. The per-acre and population variables are subject to annual inflationary adjustments using the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

What Are Prior-Year Payments?

Prior-year payments are federal revenue sharing payments made to local governments under programs other than PILT during the previous fiscal year. the Forest Service (FS) 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. Sections 6904 and 6905 provide temporary additional payments for additions to the National Park System and National Forest Wilderness areas. The PILT Act requires each State to report these payments to the Department each year. As a general rule, when prior-year payment deductions go up, the PILT calculation goes down.

Previous Fiscal Years’ Prior-Year Payment Deductions (This is from TOTAL PILT Payments to All US Counties):
  • 2020 was $203,237,940
  • 2019 was $163,395,154
    – 2019 adjusted to $158,310,061 (reflects revised submissions for Colorado–$789–and Wisconsin–$312,248)
  • 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 & Adjustments for 2020

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

(A) $2.83 (2020 rate adjusted from $2.77 rate 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) $0.40 (2020 rate adjusted from $0.39 rate in 2019) times the number of acres of qualified Federal land in the unit of local government, with no deduction for prior-year payments.

Both alternatives are subject to a population ceiling limitation computed by multiplying the rounded county population (where applicable) times a corresponding dollar value (adjusted annually for inflation) contained in the Act.

Population Variables

The population variables were adjusted from $74.63–$186.56 in FY 2019 to $76.17–$190.42 per capita in FY 2020. The statutory calculation also incorporates the effects of prior-year revenue payments and amounts received under Sections 6904 and 6905 of the PILT Act (mentioned in the section above).

Inflationary Adjustments

By statute, the per-acre and population variables used in the formula to compute payment amounts are subject to annual inflationary adjustments using the Consumer Price Index. The requirement for those adjustments to the per-acre and population variables was included in the 1994 amendments to the PILT Act. The annual inflation rate for FY 2020 is 2.07 percent, a decrease from the 2.25 percent rate used in FY 2019.

History of Previous Recent Payments

  • The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-94) reauthorized the PILT Program for FY 2020. The total amount of funding authorized for the FY 2020 PILT program was $515,084,460. Of this amount, $514,372,212 was for FY 2020 payments, $312,248 was for FY 2019 payment adjustments, and $400,000 was for administration of the program. Total funding issued to local governments was $514,684,460, which included both the FY 2020 payments and the FY 2019 payment adjustments.
  • 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. 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.
  • The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (P.L. 115–141) reauthorized the PILT Program for FY 2018. Congress appropriated PILT at $552.8 million for payments to counties in June 2018, which is roughly $88.2 million more than FY 2017.
  • The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-31) reauthorized the PILT Program for FY 2017.  Congress appropriated $464.6 million for payments to counties in June 2017, which is roughly $13 million more than FY 2016.
  • The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (P.L.114-113) reauthorized the PILT Program for FY 2016.  Congress appropriated $451.6 million for payments to counties in June 2016, which is roughly $12.5 million more than FY 2015.
  • 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.

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.

Published June 29, 2020

Press Release from DOI

Interior Distributes More Than $514 Million to Communities, Supports Critical Local Services

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. 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 2020.

“This year’s distribution of $514.7 million to more than 1,900 counties will help small towns [local governments–usually counties, who are not required to distribute funds further to other local government units, such as school districts or cities] pay for critical needs like emergency response, public safety, public schools, housing, social services, and infrastructure,” said Secretary Bernhardt.

PILT 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), for lands administered by 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 over $9.7 billion dollars to States and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
DOI collects more than $13.2 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 are 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.

Under the law, local officials retain the authority to allocate these funds. However, as President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order on “Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Violence,” highlighted, “[o]ver the last 5 weeks, there has been a sustained assault on the life and property of civilians, law enforcement officers, government property, and revered American monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial.” Much of this destruction is taking place on historic landmarks that populate the very lands that are receiving PILT payments. These symbols of American exceptionalism greatly contribute to the value of the public lands the Department maintains.

Like other monuments and landmarks, these pieces represent unique aspects of our storied history. Their cultural and economic contributions to local residents and institutions is undeniable and should be protected. Consistent with the Executive Order and applicable law, “it is the policy of the United States, to withhold Federal support tied to public spaces from State and local governments that have failed to protect public monuments, memorials, and statues from destruction or vandalism.” Any recipient of funding pursuant to this program agrees they will enforce the rule of law and defend these important public monuments, memorials, and statues.

A full list of funding by State and county is available at Payment in Lieu of Taxes website.

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