County Commissioner Joel Bousman urges Congress to support mandatory PILT program funding
Payment in Lieu of Taxes funding helps counties with large areas of tax-exempt federal land
by Wyoming County Commissioners Association
September 19, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. ¨ Joel Bousman, Sublette County Commissioner and President of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association travelled to Washington, D.C. recently and personally delivered the following message to key members Congress: pass mandatory funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program for FY 2013 and beyond.
Commissioner Bousman was part of a select group of county officials representing more than two dozen counties in 16 states who urged members of Congress to keep its promise to counties and ensure that the federal payments are not disrupted.
"Our message to Capitol Hill was clear: Congress needs to act promptly in order to maintain mandatory funding for fiscal years FY 2013 and beyond," Commissioner Bousman said. "The PILT program is a critical source of revenue for counties with large areas of tax-exempt federal land within their boundaries. Without the revenue, many counties would be forced to cut services, delay infrastructure maintenance and improvement and eliminate local jobs."
The PILT program was conceived in 1976 to offset loss of tax revenues to county government encumbered by the presence of federal land within their jurisdictions. For many counties more than 50 percent of their land is owned by the federal government. PILT payments to counties allow local governments to provide critical government services such as education, solid waste disposal, law enforcement, search and rescue, health care, environmental compliance, fire fighting, parks and recreation.
Support for the PILT program has long been a NACo legislative priority.
Twenty-seven county officials from across the country participated in the NACo PILT "fly-in" advocacy effort, which included a NACo Congressional Briefing event. Speaking at the briefing were Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah). Sen. Bingaman is chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Pearce is chair of the Congressional Western Caucus, and Rep. Bishop is chair of the House subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.
States represented during the fly-in included Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, West Virginia, and Washington.
For more information about the PILT program, contact Ryan Yates at 202-942-4207.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. Founded in 1935, NACo provides essential services to the nationís 3,068 counties. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public's understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research, and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. For more information about NACo, visit www.naco.org.