Rep. Gosar Pushes for Full Funding of PILT, Rural Schools Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after signing onto a bipartisan letter with 40 other House colleagues calling on House leadership to allocate full funding for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) programs for Fiscal Year 2015:

For Immediate Release
Date: October 17, 2014

 

Contact: Steven D. Smith
Steven.Smith@mail.house.gov

“Either give us our land or give us our PILT”

Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after signing onto a bipartisan letter with 40 other House colleagues calling on House leadership to allocate full funding for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) programs for Fiscal Year 2015:

The letter, addressed to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, goes on to say, “Without full funding of these programs, counties throughout our districts and across the nation will be unable to provide our constituents with essential services such as education, law enforcement, and road maintenance.”

Congressman Gosar has continually called for the full funding of programs vital to rural Arizona such as PILT. “Either give us our land or give us our PILT. Since it frequently falls on our local governments to provide safety operations on federal lands, they should be reimbursed for performing this critical work.”

Background:

The full text of the letter to House leadership can be found HERE.

Over 90% of federally owned land is located in the Western half of the United States. Local governments, including many in Arizona, miss out on substantial tax revenues from potential energy extraction, mining, timber harvesting, and various other forms of economic development. This lack of revenue often leads to a decrease in the quality of public services available in these communities especially in more rural areas where access to government resources is already more difficult than in larger cities.

In Fiscal Year 2013, the average PILT payment to counties in Congressman Gosar's district was $1.07 cents per acre of federally owned land. This figure pales in comparison to the amount of revenues that would be generated for states and local governments if economic development and value-based taxation were allowed to occur on these lands. 

SRS payments provide critical funding for more than 700 rural school districts and communities throughout the country. Historically, twenty-five percent of all timber harvest revenues went to counties with significant National Forest Lands within their borders to be used for education, roads and to offset property tax losses. Unfortunately, timber harvests are down 80% over the last 30 years, making SRS payments critically important until a point in time when the federal government allows for active management to take place within our nation’s forests.

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