This week, RCRC First Vice Chair Randy Hanvelt (Tuolumne County) and RCRC Board Member and National Association of Counties (NACo) Western Interstate Region (WIR) First Vice President Kevin Cann (Mariposa County) joined Paul A. Smith, RCRC Vice President Governmental Affairs, and supervisors and commissioners from around the United States to advocate for continuing the Federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. 

This joint effort, known as the NACo PILT Fly-In, allows county officials to spend time on Capitol Hill informing members of Congress and key staff of the importance of these payments to counties. 

Federal PILT provides payments to counties to help offset losses in property tax revenues due to nontaxable federal lands within their jurisdictions.  Federal PILT funding is vital for many of the nation's counties to continue providing critical programs and services to rural communities.

In March, Congress approved a $530 million appropriation for Federal PILT payments, a $65 million increase over 2017 funding levels.  Much of the reason for the significant increase is due to a lack of the Secure Rural Schools & Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) payments prior to 2017.  The complex Federal PILT calculation formula accounts for an absence in SRS payments. 

While California’s counties received their Federal PILT authorization in June, future Federal PILT payments – including 2019 – will need to be secured through the federal budget process.  Supervisor Cann and Supervisor Hanvelt joined their NACo colleagues to urge Congress to fully fund Federal PILT for 2019, and support permanent funding for the future.