Washington, DC – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) in a bipartisan letter encouraging the Senate Appropriations Committee to prioritize federal resources for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program as they develop a FY14 spending measure.
PILT provides federal payments to local governments to help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal land within their boundaries. These resources are critical to Colorado counties that use the funding to provide services, such as police, fire protection, emergency response, and infrastructure.
In a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the senators wrote, “As the Senate Appropriations Committee works to develop a final Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 spending measure, we respectfully request that your committee fully support the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. While the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 included a placeholder for PILT, we want to make certain that the program is funded in the upcoming appropriations bill.
We urge you to consider the economic hardship and uncertainty that counties across the nation will face if the PILT program is not given consistent funding.”
Bennet has been a strong advocate for fully funding the PILT program and earlier this month coauthored a letter, along with fellow Colorado U.S. Senator Mark Udall, to the Senate Appropriations, Budget, and Energy and Natural Resources Committees requesting that funds be prioritized for PILT. Last year, Bennet and Udall led the fight in support of PILT and the Secure Rural Schools funding, which was secured in the transportation bill signed into in the summer of 2012.
The letter was signed by 14 additional Senators: Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Dean Heller (R-NV), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Carl Levin (D-MI), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jim Risch (R-ID), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kay Hagan (D-NC), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Tim Scott (R-SC).
Full text of the letter below and online:
Dear Chairman Mikulski, Vice Chairman Shelby, Chairman Reed, and Ranking Member Murkowski:
As the Senate Appropriations Committees works to develop a final Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 spending measure, we respectfully request that your committee fully support the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. The PILT program provides critical funding to nearly 1,900 counties in 49 states and 3 U.S. territories. While the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 included a placeholder for PILT, we want to make certain that the program is funded in the upcoming appropriations bill.
PILT is authorized at $425 million for FY 2014 to help offset losses to local governments from the presence of non-taxable federal lands. As you know, property taxes fund county governments allowing them to provide essential services such as law enforcement, public safety, infrastructure maintenance, education, and health services for local communities. A fully funded PILT program helps to offset the loss of these important revenues and fulfill the federal governments’ obligation to local communities with large amounts of federal land.
We urge you to consider the economic hardship and uncertainty that counties across the nation will face if the PILT program is not given consistent funding. We understand the Appropriations Committee has some tough funding decisions in the coming weeks, and we appreciate your consideration of this important issue. Moving forward, we hope that we can work together to seek a long-term solution to provide a consistent and stable source of funding for the nation’s PILT counties.
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