Today, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) received a vote on his amendment to ensure that Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) payments are roughly equivalent to the lost property tax revenues. The amendment passed in a voice vote.
The federal government owns almost two thirds of the land in Utah. Unlike other property owners, the federal government does not pay property taxes on the land that it owns. As a result, areas with high concentrations of federal land face budget shortfalls. The federal government created the PILT program to provide some funding to these affected jurisdictions, but this funding is woefully inadequate.
"Counties that have substantial amounts of federal land suffer financially from having a reduced property tax base," said Senator Lee. "The federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes program was established to compensate local governments for the tax revenue lost due to the presence of federal land. Unfortunately, PILT payments tend to be a small fraction of what the local governments could generate through property taxes, which results in underfunded school, infrastructure, and other community services. We can correct the damage caused by this unfair system by requiring PILT payments to be roughly equivalent to the actual lost property tax revenue."