March 08, 2005

Delegation Welcomes Early Release Of Pilt Funds

Idaho receives more than $15 million, an increase of $1 million over last year

Washington, DC â?? As part of an accelerated payment schedule, Idahoâ??s counties are now in receipt of millions of federal dollars from the federal governmentâ??s Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. Idahoâ??s congressional delegation applauded the release of the funds by the Department of Interior. The funds compensate counties for non-taxable federal lands located within their boundaries. For fiscal year 2003, Idahoâ??s counties will receive a total of more than $15 million, which is a little over a millin dollars more than last yearâ??s payment. A copy of the county-by-county breakdown is attached to this news release.â??I am pleased that the State of Idaho will receive an additional $1 million in PILT payments this year to go towards important public services," said Senator Larry Craig. "As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have worked every year to increase this funding so that these communities surrounded by public land have additional resources to draw from. PILT is a much needed program and I will continue to work with the Idaho congressional delegation to secure increased funding for our state.â??Senator Mike Crapo said, â??PILT payments are often critical in maintaining local infrastructure and schools. Such a large percentage of land within Idahoâ??s borders is owned and managed by the federal government, and PILT payments help compensate local governments for the smaller tax base. The additional funds this year will certainly be put to good use in Idahoâ??s counties.â??â??Idaho's rural counties depend on PILT money to provide even the most basic services. Without PILT payments many communities struggle to operate public schools, maintain roads, and provide emergency services. I applaud the million dollar increase in PILT, but I believe the federal government is still not living up to its promise to provide adequate PILT funding. When some Idaho counties are more than 95 percent federally owned, PILT money is the only way they can survive,â?? 2nd District Representative Mike Simpson said.1st District Representative C.L. â??Butchâ?? Otter said, â??It's good news that Idaho is getting about $1 million more than last year. That reflects the hard work of local leaders and a growing understanding in Congress about the challenges those communities face when the federal government controls so much of their tax base. However, I'm disappointed that we continue providing only about two-thirds of what the PILT formula should be allocating to these counties. I'll continue working toward full funding, so these communities get the money they deserve from their biggest absentee landowner for roads, schools and other vital services.â??The PILT program was put into place in 1977, and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which holds responsibility for more than 264 million acres of public land throughout the country. Payments are made for BLM-administered lands, national forests, parks, and wildlife refuges; land used for federal water projects; and some military installations. For more information on the PILT program, please go to http://www.blm.gov/pilt.# # #