More than $120 million in funding is coming out of Washington for counties in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico that have lost out when it comes to getting their fair share of property tax revenue.
The Payments in Lieu of Taxes program, established in 1976, gives back to counties across the country property tax revenue that is unavailable when the federal government owns a large amount of land in those counties.
In the West, as well as other regions nationally, those lands typically belong to the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.
The funding sent to the counties under the program is usually used for any number of infrastructure upgrades, school facilities, and transportation projects.
“These investments often serve as a lifeline for local communities as they juggle planning and paying for basic services like public safety, fire fighting, social services, and transportation,” Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, said in a statement announcing the PILT funding.
This year Arizona is receiving $39 million in funding, with the largest allotments going to Gila, Mohave, Pima, and Yavapai counties, each of which are getting $3.6 million.
Colorado is seeing $40 million in PILT money, with the largest amounts, $2.3 million, going to Eagle County; $2.0 million for Larimer County; and $3.5 million for Mesa County.
Some $42 million is going to New Mexico, with Chaves and Rio Arriba counties each receiving $3.2 million and Eddy and Otero counties getting $3.5 million.
Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator from Colorado, has hailed the PILT program noting, in a statement, that it serves as a “longterm solution to provide counties and local government sustained funding and predictability."
By Garry Boulard
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