For Immediate Release Wednesday, June 18, 2003
CONTACT: Tessa Hafen or Shannon Eagan (202)224-9521
REID, ENSIGN ANNOUNCE OVER $13 MILLION IN FUNDING TO NEVADA COUNTIES
Fiscal Year 2003 Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes funding released
Washington, D.C. - Nevada Senators Harry Reid and John Ensign announced today that all of Nevada's 17 counties will share payments totaling $13,132,942 as their part of the Federal Government's Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT) program for FY 2003. This year's PILT payments are an increase of over $1.6 million from FY 2002.
The funds, administered by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management, compensate counties for non-taxable Federal lands located within their boundaries. PILT payments are authorized by Congress, which recognized that counties and other local government entities with substantial acreage of Federal land could not collect sufficient taxes to provide needed services or were taxing fewer residents at higher rates to provide services.
"The PILT program is one of the key ways that the federal government can be a good neighbor to local communities," Senator Reid, a senior member of the Interior Appropriations Committee said. "These payments help fund law enforcement, hospitals and schools, firefighting, and other vital services that local governments provide. Whether they make a living off the public lands or simply enjoy them for recreation, Nevadans deserve to have this important program fully funded."
"These funds are critical to the budgets of local governments in Nevada," Ensign said. "It is essential that the funds, based on the vast amount of land controlled by the federal government, be available to provide community services throughout the state. In the future, I would like to see legislation enacted that will permanently provide and greatly increase PILT funding for Nevada."
The BLM administers the PILT program because it is the largest single Federal land management agency, with responsibility for over 264 million acres of public land. Payments are made for BLM administered lands, national forests, parks, and wildlife refuges; land used for Federal water projects; and some military installations.