PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF TAXES
Mr. BAUCUS. Madam President, I come to the floor today with my friend Chairman Wyden to express support for extending natural resource programs that are critical to communities across the country. This week the Senate passed a bipartisan budget resolution. In January we will return to consider legislation to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.
This past October, Congress was able to extend critical payments to forested counties under the Secure Rural Schools, SRS, program for 1-year in a bipartisan fashion. Irrespective of the appropriations bill that we may take up in January, we now need to do the same for counties eligible for payments under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program, or PILT. PILT is a permanently authorized program created in 1976 that since 2008 has received direct spending. It is an essential source of funding for local governments that cannot collect taxes from Federal land within their borders.
A long-term solution to provide stable direct funding for PILT and other natural resource programs that buttress rural economies, like SRS and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, is our common goal. In the meantime, we remain committed to extending direct spending on PILT and look forward to finding an opportunity to do so in the first half of 2014. Does the distinguished senator from Oregon wish to express himself on these points?
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