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Contact: Cameron Hardy

Thomas: PILT Essential to County Services
Wyoming senator co-sponsors amendment to provide full funding for payments
March 16th, 2006 - WASHINGTON – In an effort to provide full and equitable funding to counties under the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, U.S. Senator Craig Thomas led an effort today which adds $152 million to PILT under the 2007 Congressional budget.

“PILT funding helps counties pay for essential services such as firefighting, search-and-rescue, and a host of other necessary services,” Thomas said. “The amendment provides an increase of 56 percent, establishing full funding at $350 million.”

“Counties which contain large tracts of public land deserve this funding as a matter of fairness. Some of our counties in Wyoming have a great deal of federal land within their boundaries which might otherwise be part of a county’s tax base. This is a positive first step toward ensuring that local communities are adequately compensated by the federal government.”

PILT payments are made for federal lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water projects, and some military installations.

The PILT program provides payments to counties to compensate them for lost tax revenue due to the presence of federal land in their counties. PILT is especially important to western states, but almost every state receives some level of funding through the program.

The amendment passed the Senate this afternoon. The Senate is expected to pass its version of the Fiscal Year 2007 budget later this evening.  

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