Pushes federal government to meet obligations to states and counties
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson has other Western Members of Congress in urging House leadership to fully fund the federal government’s obligations to counties with a high percentage of federal land. They recently sent a letter to leadership pushing for full funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. PILT compensates local governments for the loss of income due to the presence of federal land in their state or county, since the federal government does not pay property taxes. Full funding for PILT payments was extended in the Farm Bill but expires at the end of the current fiscal year.
“For almost 40 years, PILT payments have provided compensation to local governments to offset the loss of tax revenues that result from the presence of federal lands within their jurisdictions,” the letter states. “PILT payments are distributed to 49 different states and nearly 2,000 counties throughout the nation.”
It continues, “In Fiscal Year 2013, the national average for PILT payments was 66 cents per acre. This figure pales in comparison to the amount of revenues that would be generated for states and local governments if economic development and value-based taxation was allowed to occur on these lands. The federal government has an obligation to reimburse local governments for large quantities of federal lands found within their jurisdiction.”
The letter was signed by 51 Members of Congress. Simpson, who is vice-chairman on the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, has long supported permanent full funding of PILT.