November 20, 2015

Crapo, Bennet Lead Bipartisan Letter on County Payments

Washington, D.C.- U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) today led a bipartisan coalition urging Senate leaders to fully fund the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program in any end-of-year legislation.

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) provide federal payments to nearly 1,900 local governments across 49 states to help offset losses in property taxes because of nontaxable federal land within state boundaries.  PILT payments are critical to rural counties across the country and are used to fund services such as police, fire protection, and emergency response. 

"PILT funding is an important resource for many counties in Idaho and across our nation and is not exclusive to rural or western communities," said Crapo.  "The strong showing of bipartisan senators on this letter is evidence that PILT payments are critical to communities nationwide.  I look forward to working with all my colleagues to restore funding to this important program in a fiscally-responsible manner."

"Counties throughout Colorado, particularly those with vast expanses of public lands, consider PILT an essential part of their budgets," Bennet said. "This funding helps pay for road maintenance, emergency services, and law enforcement. Full funding for PILT will ensure these counties have the resources they need to provide these crucial services to Coloradans."

"Without full funding for the PILT program before the end of the year, counties across the nation will be unable to provide essential services such as education, law enforcement, search and rescue, road maintenance and public health to residents and millions of federal lands visitors alike," the lawmakers wrote to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid. "However, as the end of the year approaches, enacting full-funding for PILT in FY 2016 is essential in order to provide counties with the certainty they need to plan their own budgets and continue providing essential county services."

The lawmakers added, "Moving forward, we hope Congress can work together to enact a fiscally responsible long-term sustainable solution to fully fund this important program and eliminate the ongoing funding uncertainty PILT counties face."

In addition to Crapo and Bennet, the letter is also signed by Dan Sullivan (R-AK); Jeff Sessions (R-AL); John Boozman (R-AR); Jeff Flake (R-AZ); John McCain (R-AZ); Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Barbara Boxer (D-CA); Cory Gardner (R-CO); Bill Nelson (D-FL); James Risch (R-ID); Joe Donnelly (D-IN); Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); Al Franken (D-MN); Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Jon Tester (D-MT); Steve Daines (R-MT); John Hoeven (R-ND); Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND); Martin Heinrich (D-NM); Tom Udall (D-NM); Dean Heller (D-NV); Jim Inhofe (R-OK); Jeff Merkley (D-OR); Ron Wyden (D-OR); Mike Lee (R-UT); Orrin Hatch (R-UT); Mark Warner (D-VA); Tim Kaine (D-VA); Maria Cantwell (D-WA); Patty Murray (D-WA); Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV); Joe Manchin (D-WV); Michael Enzi (R-WY); John Barrasso (R-WY).

 

The full text of the letter follows and is attached.

November 20, 2015


The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader

United States Senate

U.S. Capitol Building, Room: S-230

Washington, DC 20510      

 

The Honorable Harry Reid

Minority Leader

United States Senate

U.S. Capitol Building, Room: S-221

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid,

As Members of Congress representing counties containing federal public lands within their boundaries, we write to request that Congress include full funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program for FY16 along with responsible budget offsets in any legislation likely to pass the House and Senate and be signed into law before the end of the year.

PILT provides critical resources to nearly 1,900 counties across 49 states to offset lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt federal lands within their jurisdictions.  Without full funding for the PILT program before the end of the year, counties across the nation will be unable to provide essential services such as education, law enforcement, search and rescue, road maintenance  and public health to residents and millions of federal lands visitors alike.

Moving forward we hope Congress can work together to enact a fiscally responsible long-term sustainable solution to fully fund this important program and eliminate the ongoing funding uncertainty PILT counties face.  However, as the end of the year approaches, enacting full-funding for PILT in FY 2016 is essential in order to provide counties with the certainty they need to plan their own budgets and continue providing essential county services.  We look forward to working with you to resolve this pressing issue facing our communities in FY16 and in the coming years.

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