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Published:November 23rd, 2008 16:55 EST
Counties Housing National Parks and Forests Will Be Receiving A $1.5 Billion Federal Funding Boost

Counties Housing National Parks and Forests Will Be Receiving A $1.5 Billion Federal Funding Boost

By SOP newswire3

Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced today that the Department of the Interior has distributed an additional $138.7 million in supplemental payments to about 2,200 county and other local governments, providing them full compensation for taxes that could not be levied on federal lands in their jurisdictions during fiscal year 2008.

The additional compensation under the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program is authorized by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which President Bush signed on Oct. 3. In June of 2008, $228.5 million in fiscal year 2008 PILT payments were distributed to these jurisdictions. The combined payments " $367.2 million " will provide these governments their first full PILT entitlement payments since 1994. The reauthorized PILT program will provide more than $1.5 billion in full compensation through 2012 to local governments that qualify.

"These payments help local governments provide vital services to communities across the country, including education, firefighting, transportation, and emergency response," Kempthorne said. "These jurisdictions provide support for federal lands throughout the year, every year, earning our appreciation and thanks. I am pleased that they will now receive their full PILT compensation through 2012."

Since 1994, payments were subject to appropriation and have not matched the full entitlement level. From 1995 through 2008, payments to local jurisdictions funded from 41 to 77 percent of the entitlement levels. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 makes the PILT program mandatory, so through 2012, payments will equal the full entitlement levels for each county and other local jurisdictions that receive PILT payments.

Eligibility for PILT payments is reserved for local governments (usually counties) that contain National Forests, National Parks, Bureau of Land Management public lands, and lands dedicated to water resource development projects.

By law, the payments are calculated using a mandated formula, based on the number of acres of federal entitlement land, the population within each county or jurisdiction, and adjusted for revenue sharing payments. Revenue payments are federal payments made to local governments under programs other than PILT during the previous year. Payments are made under the Refuge Revenue Sharing Fund, the National Forest Fund, the Taylor Grazing Act, the Mineral Leasing Act, the Federal Power Act, and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000.

The Department of the Interior collects about $4 billion a year in revenue from commercial activities on federal lands, such as livestock grazing, timber harvesting, and oil and natural gas leasing. Some of these revenues are shared with states and counties in the form of revenue-sharing payments. The balance is deposited in the U.S. Treasury, which in turn pays for a broad array of federal activities, including PILT funding to counties.

Payments to individual counties may vary from the prior year because of changes in acreage data, which is updated yearly by the federal agency administering the land; population data, which is updated based on U.S. Census Bureau data; and the prior year revenue payment, which is reported by states. The per acre and population variables used to compute payments are also adjusted for inflation, using the Consumer Price Index and Census data, as required by 1994 amendments to the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act. Sections 6904 and 6905 of the PILT law provide additional payments for additions to the National Park System and National Forest Wilderness areas.

Attached is a state-by-state chart of PILT payments for fiscal year 2008. A complete list of county-by-county PILT payments is online at

The attached state list also is online at

source: DOI