Senators urge Appropriations Committee to fully fund PILT program

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U.S. Sens. Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) are among a group of Senators urging the leaders of the Senate Committee on Appropriations to fully fund the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program for fiscal year 2022.

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The PILT provides payments to counties with non-taxable federal land within their borders to offset the lost property tax revenue.

“Without full funding for the PILT program, counties across the nation will be unable to provide essential services such as law enforcement, education, search and rescue, road maintenance and public health to their residents and millions of visitors to our public lands,” the senators wrote to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chair of the committee, and Richard Shelby (R-AL), vice chair of the committee. “Moving forward, we look forward to working with you to enact a fiscally responsible, long-term solution to fully fund PILT and eliminate the uncertainty that counties face each year. As cash-strapped counties across the country work to address budget cuts exacerbated by the pandemic, full-funding and a long-term solution for PILT is essential to provide certainty that the federal government will continue to uphold its long-standing commitment to public lands counties.”

The lawmakers said PILT funding is critical for communities that use these funds for essential services like infrastructure maintenance and law enforcement. PILT provides critical resources to nearly 1,900 counties across 49 states. These payments have been used for more than 40 years to fund law enforcement, firefighting, emergency response, and other essential county services.

“We look forward to working with you and other Congressional leaders to resolve this pressing issue facing our communities by fully funding PILT in FY 2022 and ensuring long-term, predictable funding for this important program,” the letter, signed by 36 Senators, stated.

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