In October 1976, Congress enacted the Federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Act to provide federal payments to local governments to help offset losses in property tax revenues due to nontaxable federal lands within local governments' boundaries. Counties containing National Forests, National Parks, lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, lands dedicated to the use of federal water, National Wildlife Reserves, and inactive or semi-active U.S. Army installations are eligible for Federal PILT payments. Under the current construct of Federal PILT, each year, Congress must continue to appropriate monies for the program. Federal PILT helps local governments provide firefighting and police protection, construction of public schools and roads, and search and rescue operations.
In February 2019, President Trump signed an appropriations package that includes fully funding Federal PILT for 2019. Fully funding Federal PILT in Fiscal 2019 is a major victory for rural counties, but it is imperative that Congress maintains this funding level in Fiscal 2020. In addition, RCRC continues to request Congress to enact a sustainable long-term approach to finance Federal PILT, and eliminate the uncertainty of the legislative appropriations process each fiscal year.
Staff: Paul A. Smith