U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today reported that New Mexico counties will share nearly $34.8 million in payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) funds.
PILT, which is a program administered through the Department of the Interior, compensates counties for federal property such as national parks, national forest and land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which cannot be taxed by local governments.
Because PILT was shortchanged each year in the annual appropriations process, Bingaman forcefully advocated for automatic full funding for the program -- which many New Mexico counties rely heavily upon. In 2008, Bingaman played a key role in negotiations that guaranteed full funding through fiscal year 2012, while also improving a separate initiative called the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. That effort resulted in significant funding for New Mexico in each of the last few years.
"Many New Mexico communities rely on PILT funding to maintain schools, roads and emergency response services. This funding is an important investment in our state and I'm pleased Congress was able to ensure full funding for this program," Bingaman said.