Friday, January 17, 2014

Senators seek renewal of PILT funds

Bipartisan letter asks for inclusion in federal Farm Bill

Express Staff Writer

     Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, both Republicans, joined 14 Democratic senators in sending a letter to the Senate’s Farm Bill conference committee on Wednesday asking for renewal of the Department of Interior’s Payments in Lieu of Taxes program. The fiscal year 2014 omnibus spending bill did not include resources for the program.

     Since 1976, the PILT program has provided money to more than 1,900 counties in 49 states and territories to make up for diminished tax revenues stemming from federal land ownership. In fiscal year 2013, Idaho received $26.3 million in PILT payments, of which $1.74 million went to Blaine County. According to the Idaho Department of Lands, 78 percent of the county’s 2,660 square miles is owned by the federal government.

     In 2008, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act modified the PILT program from a discretionary program subject to annual appropriations to a mandatory entitlement program for five years, until 2012. The program was extended for one more year in 2013.

“We anticipate that they’re going to give us some funding.”

JoLynn Drage

Blaine County clerk

     The payments are dispersed each June.

     “Counties across the country, particularly those containing significant federal landholdings, rely on PILT funds as sizeable percentages of their budgets,” the senators’ letter states. “Many of the same rural counties that rely on programs in the Farm Bill also depend on PILT to sustain their economies and serve their citizens. These dollars help fund essential services like road maintenance, fire departments and emergency medical services.

     “Without an extension of PILT, rural counties will face drastic budget cuts in June and may struggle to fund the most basic of services. In fact, some of these counties may be faced with potential insolvency. The federal government needs to honor the pledge made to our rural counties and fund this program.”

     The letter urged the committee to include a renewal of the PILT program in the final Farm
Bill conference report.

     Blaine County Clerk JoLynn Drage said the county’s fiscal year 2014 budget, which totals $27.5 million, includes $1.74 million in PILT payments.

    “We anticipate that they’re going to give us some funding,” she said. “It would seem really drastic to have this much federal land and not be compensated somehow.”

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2024 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.