Thursday, November 20, 2008

Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne
$1.5 Billion Will Go to State and County Governments Over 5 Years in Full Compensation for Payments in Lieu of Taxes

WASHINGTON– Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced today that more than $1.5 billion will be distributed through 2012 to local governments that qualify for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which provides compensation for taxes that could not be levied on federal lands in their jurisdictions.

Under new authorization for the PILT program, $138.7 million in supplemental payments for fiscal year 2008 will soon be distributed to about 1,850 county and other local governments. The Department of the Interior is scheduled to officially announce and distribute each state’s supplemental 2008 PILT funding by the third week in November. In June of 2008, $228.5 million in 2008 PILT payments were distributed to these jurisdictions. The combined payments – $367.2 million – will provide these governments their first full PILT entitlement payments since 1994.

“I am extremely pleased that these communities, which provide important assistance in supporting federal lands, will be receiving their full compensation,” Kempthorne said. “We appreciate their help and recognize that these local governments provide essential services to communities across the country, including education, transportation, firefighting and emergency response. These payments will help to fund these critical programs.”

Eligibility for PILT payments is reserved for local governments (usually counties) that contain National Forests, National Parks, Bureau of Land Management public lands, and lands dedicated to water resource development projects.

By law, the payments are calculated using a mandated formula, based on the number of acres of federal entitlement land, the population within each county or jurisdiction, and adjusted for revenue sharing payments.

Revenue payments are federal payments made to local governments under programs other than PILT during the previous year. Payments are made under 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. Sections 6904 and 6905 provide additional payments for additions to the National Park System and National Forest Wilderness areas.

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