Federal Land Tax Breaks For Counties Equals $224 Million
The federal government is handing some $224.3 million to county governments whose jurisdictions contain tax-exempt federal lands. These federal payments to county governments may be used for any governmental purpose.
The annual payments, made under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Act (PILT), compensate nearly 1,900 local governments for tax revenue lost because of the federal land in their jurisdiction.
This year’s total of $224,301,697 represents an increase of $6.1 million more than fiscal year 2003.
Including this year’s payments, the Interior Department has distributed more than $3.4 billion to local governments since the program began in 1977.
Payments are made for tax exempt federal lands administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service, as well as for federal water projects and some military installations.
These payments are in addition to other federal revenues that the federal government transfers to the states.
The Interior Department collects revenues of $6 to $11 billion annually from commercial activities on federal lands, such as oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing, and timber harvesting. A portion of these revenues are deposited in the general fund of the U.S. Treasury which in turn pay for a broad array of federal activities, including payments to counties.
All states except Rhode Island will receive PILT funding in 2004. The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands also receive these funds.
New Mexico counties topped the list, receiving $22 million, followed by Utah and California, which each received $19.1 million.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.