Tipton Fighting for PILT Funding

WASHINGTON—Rep. Scott Tipton voted against consolidated appropriations legislation in the House that excluded funding for the Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT) program on which many Western counties rely to provide essential services.

PILT reimburses local governments for losses in tax revenues due to the presence of large expanses of un-taxable federal lands, ensuring vital funding for infrastructure, law enforcement, education and other essential operations. Colorado received nearly $32 million in PILT payments in 2013, with just over $21 million going to counties in the 3rd District.

“The loss of PILT funds would be devastating for many counties in my district. These rural counties have broad expanses of public lands and PILT helps bridge the budgetary challenges created by the inability to collect tax revenues in those areas. While local taxes cannot be collected on these areas, the counties that include federal lands are still expected to provide essential services such as law enforcement, infrastructure and education to the community. Without PILT, the ability to provide these services to the community would be jeopardized. The federal government owns more than a third of the land in Colorado and in some counties in my district as much as 80 percent of the land is federally controlled, it is irresponsible for the federal government to deny PILT funds to these communities,” said Tipton. “It’s disappointing that funding for PILT was conspicuously absent from today’s appropriations legislation, despite repeated pleas from Western members to renew the vital program. While I appreciate assurances from leadership that PILT will be renewed in the Farm Bill, this is not a sure thing, and the absence of PILT funding in today’s appropriations package creates great uncertainty for all 29 counties in my district. I remain hopeful that we will pass a Farm Bill soon, but the reality is that Congress has struggled for more than two years now to reach an agreement on that legislation, and counties cannot afford to wait in perpetuity for vital PILT funds. I will continue to work with my Western colleagues to restore funding for PILT as quickly as possible, and provide our counties with the certainty needed to plan their budgets and serve their communities.”

In November, Tipton led a bipartisan group of 46 of his House colleagues in urging Budget Conferees to provide certainty for counties and prioritize funding for PILT.  Read the letter here. This week, Tipton once more joined with his Western colleagues in a bipartisan letter urging House and Senate Appropriators to maintain funding for PILT. Read that letter here.

Since being elected to Congress, Tipton has fought to ensure that programs vital for infrastructure, emergency services, law enforcement and education in rural counties with large expanses of un-taxable federal lands, remain intact. He has also worked to reduce the need for programs like PILT through legislation that would allow Western states to responsibly develop their energy resources, manage their forests and create jobs. Additionally, Tipton has co-sponsored legislation to allow states to directly collect their portion of mineral royalties, eliminating the federal bureaucratic middle-man and providing greater certainty for rural communities.

Background:

Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District PILT Payments in FY2013:

Country

FY2013 PILT $$ (ital. = above $1M)

Alamosa

$182,513

Archuleta

$1,006,952

Conejos

$1,041,359

Costilla

$859

Custer

$369,599

Delta

$135,965

Dolores

$140,127

Eagle

$2,042,388

Garfield

$2,825,294

Gunnison

$545,128

Hinsdale

$131,409

Huerfano

$377,652

Jackson

$170,498

La Plata

$607,959

Lake

$396,796

Mesa

$3,127,674

Mineral

$115,023

Moffat

$554,633

Montezuma

$159,950

Montrose

$2,082,593

Ouray

$364,380

Pitkin

$1,251,871

Pueblo

$115,101

Rio Blanco

$497,194

Rio Grande

$684,929

Routt

$1,468,688

Saguache

$797,037

San Juan

$71,547

San Miguel

$875,862