Rep. Boebert Fights for Local Communities' PILT Payments
Today, U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert (CO-03) stood up for local communities by urging the Biden administration to fully fund the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program in its fiscal year 2022 budget.
Representative Lauren Boebert stated: “More than 55% of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District is federal land. Many local governments struggle to fund essential services as a result of this significant presence. I will always go to bat for our rural communities and seek to make sure they receive the full PILT payments that are authorized under federal law. All 29 of the counties in my District benefit from the PILT program, and I will continue to fight for each one of them.”
The Biden administration has not yet released a budget or confirmed to local counties that it will meet its statutory obligation to provide PILT payments to counties. PILT funding allows counties to make up for lost tax revenue caused by tax-exempt federal land, and in 2020, Colorado received almost $42 million in PILT payments.
While the average per-acre value for PILT payments is a fraction of the amount of revenues that would be generated for states and counties if value-based taxation or economic development occurred on these lands, PILT provides critical revenues for law enforcement, construction of public schools, firefighting, search-and-rescue operations, and road maintenance.
Read the full text of Representative Boebert’s letter here and below.
Dear President Biden, Deputy Director Young and Secretary Haaland:
As your administration prepares to release its first budget, I urge you to include full funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program for fiscal year 2022.
All twenty-nine counties that make up Colorado’s Third Congressional District benefit from the PILT program, which provides necessary funding to offset the loss of tax revenue local governments would otherwise receive, but do not because of the large presence of federal lands within their boundaries. The county governments of the Third District are currently waiting for confirmation that these funds will reach them while trying to plan their budgets. It is imperative that your administration uphold the federal government’s long-standing commitment to counties with significant federal lands within their border.
Colorado experienced devastating consequences from wildfires last year with the three largest fires in state history occurring, including the Pine Gulch fire in my district that occurred mostly on Bureau of Land Management land. PILT funding is a front-line resource that allows for fire protection districts and our communities to help fight fires on federal land. PILT funding is also a pillar for construction of new schools, road maintenance, police protection, and life-saving search and rescue missions.
Withholding PILT funds would be detrimental to rural communities like the ones I represent and 49 different states. These counties are already deprived of crucial revenues simply because they are home to federal public lands. Again, I urge you to fully fund the PILT program in your fiscal year 2022 budget. Thank you for your consideration of this request.