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Rural funding is on its way

Rural funding is on its way

@TheSunGazette

sacramento – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced 58 local governments in California will receive total of $48.3 million in Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funding for 2017. The payments are California’s share of the record $464.6 million distributed to 1,900 local governments in the country this year. This is the largest amount ever allocated in the PILT program’s 40-year history.

“As a kid who grew up in northwest Montana and whose sons graduated from the same high school as I did, I know how important PILT payments are to local communities that have federal lands. These investments are one of the ways the federal government is fulfilling its role of being a good land manager and good neighbor to local communities,” said Secretary Zinke. “Rural America, especially states out west with large federal land holdings, play a big part in feeding and powering the nation and also in providing recreation opportunities, but because the lands are federal, the local governments don’t earn tax revenue from them. PILT investments often serve as critical support for local communities as they juggle planning and paying for basic services, such as public safety, firefighting, social services and transportation.”

PILT are Federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property taxes due to non-taxable Federal lands within their boundaries. PILT payments help local governments carry out such vital services as firefighting and police protection, construction of public schools and roads, and search-and-rescue operations.

The payments are annually made for tax-exempt federal lands which are administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, all agencies of the Interior Department, the U.S. Forest Service and for federal water projects and some military installations.

Since 1977, when PILT payments began, The Department of the Interior has distributed nearly $8 billion dollars. Using a formula, the annual PILT payments are computed based on the number of acres of federal land within each county or jurisdiction and the population of that county jurisdiction. A portion of the revenues collected by the Interior Department from commercial actives on public lands is also shared with states and counties.

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