Bill would help fund small, rural communities

Legislation to amend the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program to make its formula more equitable for large boroughs with small populations has been introduced Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Steve Daines, R-MT, and Cory Gardner, R-CO.

PILT provides annual payments to local governments with federal lands that are not subject to state or local taxation. Twelve boroughs or census areas in Alaska have populations of under 5,000 and large tracts of federal land that local governments cannot tax. If enacted, the minor adjustment to the PILT formula contained in this bill would, over time, increase annual program funding for communities within these boroughs or census areas. The change would not impact amounts received by larger population areas, such as Anchorage and Fairbanks.

“In Alaska, the federal government controls over 60 percent of our lands, making PILT essential for community services,” Murkowski said. “Our bill will address an inequity and help ensure appropriate funding, especially for small, rural communities in Alaska that are surrounded by national parks, forests or other federal lands.”

The Small County PILT Parity Act would modify the population values table in section 6902 of the PILT Act so that communities like Cordova, with populations under 5,000, would receive a higher annual limitation ceiling which would offer the opportunity to receive higher PILT payments if those counties have eligible federal lands. Experts with the Congressional Research Service estimate this legislation could provide over $580,000 in additional PILT funds annually to small boroughs in Alaska.

More information about the legislation and the PILT program is online at County PILT One Pager – Daines Murkowski Gardner.pdf.