Gardner, Colleagues Express Support to Fully Fund PILT Program

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), along with several of his colleagues, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) requesting the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program be fully funded for fiscal year 2017. 


The PILT program is an important resource for counties across Colorado to assist with essential services to their citizens. PILT provides funding to counties which contain federal land within its borders, offsetting the lost property tax revenue that comes from the non-taxable federal land located within the counties.


The letter reads in full:


Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid,


We urge you to work in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion to ensure the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program is fully funded for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 and is offset in a responsible manner. For more than 40 years, the PILT program has played a critical role in supporting our local communities by providing resources to nearly 1,900 counties across 49 states to offset lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt federal lands within their jurisdictions. 


For FY 2017, the U.S. Department of the Interior has estimated that $480 million dollars will be necessary to fully fund PILT. If Congress fails to fully fund the PILT program by the end of the year, public lands counties across the nation will be unable to provide essential public services such as law enforcement, search and rescue, public health and critical transportation infrastructure. Without the certainty of full PILT funding for FY 2017, we risk severely crippling counties' ability to provide essential services for their residents and public lands visitors alike.


Moving forward, we hope Congress can work together to enact a fiscally responsible, long-term and sustainable solution to fully fund PILT in FY 2017 and beyond. As counties across the United States work to balance their budgets, it is essential that Congress act to reaffirm the federal government's long-standing commitment to public lands counties by fully funding PILT. 


We look forward to working with you to end the financial uncertainty facing thousands of counties nationwide, and we thank you for your attention to this critical issue.



Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

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