WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced that 32 local governments in New Mexico are receiving a total of $42.6 million under the 2018 Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, demonstrating the Administration’s commitment to local communities.
This is the largest amount ever allocated in the program’s 40-year history. A full list of funding by state and county is available at www.doi.gov/pilt.
“Local communities contribute significantly to our nation’s economy, food and energy supply, and help define the character of our diverse and beautiful country,” Zinke said. “These investments often serve as a lifeline for local communities as they juggle planning and paying for basic services like public safety, fire-fighting, social services and transportation.”
PILT program eligibility is reserved for local governments that contain non-taxable Federal lands within their boundaries. These jurisdictions provide significant support for national parks, wildlife refuges, and recreation areas throughout the year. PILT seeks to compensate local governments for the inability to collect property taxes on Federally-owned land.
“These investments are one of the ways the federal government can fulfill its role of being a good neighbor to local communities,” Secretary Zinke said. “President Trump has made job creation and opportunity in rural areas a top priority for his Administration and strongly supported the PILT program.”
“As a New Mexican, I understand how essential PILT payments are for rural counties that are largely composed of federal land,” Rep. Steve Pearce said. “These funds support local communities in providing standard services like road maintenance, public safety, and many others. I appreciate this Administration’s commitment to rural communities by issuing the largest amount ever allocated in the program’s history for the second year in a row and I will continue to fight for full funding for this program next year.”
“Payments in lieu of taxes are a critical funding source for New Mexico counties, especially in areas where the federal government is a significant land owner,” said New Mexico Counties Executive Director Steve Kopelman. “This important financial commitment from the federal government helps counties provide public safety, maintain infrastructure, and ensure vital services for their communities where traditional property taxes cannot be collected.”
Using a formula provided by statute, the annual PILT payments to local governments are computed based on the number of acres of federal land within each county or jurisdiction and 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 Refuge System; areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management; areas managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Bureau of Reclamation water resource development projects; and others.
Since PILT payments began in 1977, Interior has distributed approximately $8.5 billion dollars to states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.
The Department collects more than $9.6 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 yearly by the federal agency administering the land; prior year Federal Revenue Sharing payments reported yearly 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, 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, when authorized.