WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich today announced counties in New Mexico are set to receive approximately $37 million as part of the 2014 Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, an over 8 percent increase from 2013.
Los Alamos County police, fire and schools will receive $85,962.
PILT is administered through the Department of the Interior and provides funding for mostly rural counties that have a limited ability to levy taxes due to the amount of federal property in their jurisdiction, including Bureau of Land Management land, national parks and forests and military bases. Local governments use PILT funding to provide many crucial services to residents.
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich
“I am pleased to announce PILT funding is on its way to New Mexico counties,” Udall said. “I fought hard to make sure these critical payments continued this year and I will keep fighting until they are permanently funded. PILT is an important program that helps New Mexico’s communities create jobs and pay for services people rely on, like public safety, schools and roads. And as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue making the case in Congress for why we must fund it well into the future.”
“PILT funding is critically important to rural New Mexico, and I am pleased that we were successful in securing funding for this year’s payments,” Heinrich said. “This program helps counties across our state avoid budget shortfalls and maintains the economic strength of rural communities who rely on these funds for infrastructure maintenance, law enforcement, and other critical local services. The PILT program also helps provide safer roads, better schools, and thousands of local jobs. I will continue to push for full, permanent funding for PILT and the Secure Rural Schools to give our counties the budget certainty they need.”
After years of funding PILT inconsistently, Congress in 2008 fully and automatically funded PILT for five years. In a 2012 transportation bill, full funding was extended for another year, leaving the future beyond 2013 uncertain. Earlier this year, Udall and Heinrich successfully pushed for PILT funding to be included in the Farm Bill, and have continued to be strong advocates for steady, full funding.
Starting in 2011, Udall, along with then-Sen. Jeff Bingaman, helped lead the fight in the Senate for mandatory, long-term support of PILT and Secure Rural Schools funding to give local communities assurance that they can depend on this lifeline for long-term planning. Heinrich, then a member of the House, sponsored a companion bill, which would have fully funded the PILT program for an additional five years. Last year, Udall and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), along with Heinrich, wrote the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Interior subcommittee calling on them to fully support and fund PILT.
According to the Interior Department, the annual PILT payments are computed based on the number of acres of federal entitlement land within each county or jurisdiction and the population of that county or jurisdiction. The lands include the National Forest and National Park Systems, the areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management, those affected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water resource development projects, and others. In 2013, New Mexico counties received $34,692,967 in PILT Payments.
New Mexico – Local Unit of Government (FY 2014 Payment)