WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced that 23 local governments in Wyoming are receiving a total of $30.2 million under the 2019 Payments in Lieu of Taxes, or PILT, program.
“Payments in lieu of taxes are made to local governments to help offset their inability to tax federal property,” Bernhardt said in a press release. “These payments are one example of the United States striving to be a good neighbor to local communities. This year’s distribution of $514 million to more than 1,900 counties will help small towns pay for critical needs like emergency response, public safety, public schools, housing, social services, and infrastructure.”
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 made annually for tax-exempt federal lands administered by U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service and for federal water projects and some military installations.
Using a statutory formula, the annual PILT payments to local governments are computed based on the number of acres of federal land within each county or jurisdiction and on the population of that county or jurisdiction. The lands include the national forest and national park systems, lands in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuge System, areas managed by the BLM, areas managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water resource development projects.
Since PILT payments began in 1977, DOI has distributed approximately $9.2 billion to states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
DOI collects more than $11.9 billion in revenue annually from commercial activities on public lands, such as oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing, and timber harvesting. A portion of these revenues is shared with states and counties. The balance is deposited in the U.S. Treasury, which in turn pays for a broad array of federal activities, including PILT funding.
Individual county payments may vary from year to year as a result of changes in acreage data, which is updated annually by the federal agency administering the land; prior-year federal revenue sharing payments reported annually by the governor of each state; and population data, which is updated using information from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Federal revenue sharing payments are made to local governments under programs other than PILT during the previous fiscal year, including payments such as those made under the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act, Refuge Revenue Sharing Fund, National Forest Fund, Taylor Grazing Act, Mineral Leasing Act, Federal Power Act, and Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, as authorized.
A full list of funding by state and county is available at www.doi.gov/pilt.