The La Paz County Board of Supervisors joined other counties in adopting a resolution formally asking the United States Congress to renew the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program (PILT).
PILT funds were established in 1976 as way to provide funding to counties that held large amounts of federal land and thus could not collect property taxes on it. Most of La Paz County is federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, so revenues to County government are lower than they would otherwise be. The U.S. Department of the Interior makes modest annual payments to the counties with federal land. These PILT funds reimburse the counties to some extent of what it costs to have federal land in its borders.
Congress did not include PILT in its recent $1.1 billion budget, leading hundreds of local governments to fear that the program was being eliminated. Advocates say this would cripple especially communities with vast, nontaxable federal holdings like La Paz County.
The message may be being heard. Lawmakers from both parties say they are working to include PILT in the next farm bill, with Republicans saying they want to offset its cost by eliminating some other things from the bill.
The federal government owns some 600 million acres of land across the counties and territories of the United States.