Department Of Interior
|Office of the Secretary||
CONTACT: John Wright
|For Immediate Release: June 17, 2004||
Secretary Norton Says State and Local Governments to Get $224 Million under Federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program
WASHINGTON-Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton today announced the distribution of more than $224 million to county governments whose jurisdictions contain tax-exempt federal lands. Norton noted that this year's distribution payments under the Payment In Lieu of Taxes Act, compensates nearly 1,900 local governments for tax revenue lost because of the federal land in their jurisdiction.
"These important dollars help states offset the loss of tax revenues to counties that contain federal lands," Norton said. "We recognize the impact of federal land management on local communities and this money will help pay for essential services such as firefighting, search-and-rescue operations and a host of other badly needed on-the-ground services."
This year's PILT total of $224,301,697 represents an increase of $6.1 million more than Fiscal Year 2003. Including this year's payments, the Interior Department has distributed more than $3.4 billion to local governments since the program began in 1977. The President's FY 2005 budget includes $226 million, the largest ever request made by a President. The President's request represents an increase of nearly 70 percent more than the funding levels provided five years ago, in FY 2000.
The Interior Department collects revenues of $6 to $11 billion annually from commercial activities on federal lands, such as oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing, and timber harvesting. A significant portion of these revenues are deposited in the general fund of the U.S. Treasury which in turn pay for a broad array of federal activities, including payments to counties.
For the third year in a row, Secretary Norton is sending PILT checks three months earlier than in the past. "The accelerated payment schedule makes it easier for state and local governments to budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1 for many jurisdictions," Norton said.
These federal payments to county governments may be used for any governmental purpose. PILT payments are computed and disbursed by the Interior Department on or before September 30th of each year. The have been used to help improve local school, water, and road systems. Payment eligibility is reserved for local governments (usually counties) that provide services such as those related to public safety, environment, housing, social services, and transportation, and that contain nontaxable federal lands.
Payments under PILT are made for tax-exempt federal lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (all agencies of the Interior Department), the USDA Forest Service (part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture), and for federal water projects and some military installations. These payments are in addition to other federal revenues that the federal government transfers to the states.
All states except Rhode Island will receive PILT funding in 2004. The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands also receive these funds. The states receiving the most under the program this year are New Mexico, Utah, and California.
PILT 2004 Payments by State