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What is PILT?

June 1, 2012

“Payments in Lieu of Taxes” (or PILT) are federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal lands within their boundaries.  Since over 65% of Utah’s lands are controlled by the federal government and not subject to property taxes, Utah receives PILT.  What is of interest to me is that Nevada receives a higher rate of PILT than Utah because Harry Reid negotiated it with the Obama administration.  Does that seem fair to you?

In addition, there is no guaranty that PILT payments will continue in the future.  The Forest Service and BLM are both running deep in the red, primarily because they no longer are allowing development of many of the natural resources available on public lands — and the ones they do develop are mired down in bureaucratic red tape.

Utah’s PILT receipts are only 7% to 17% of the revenue that most expect could be generated if the land had been disposed and taxed as was required in Utah’s Enabling Act.  The bottom line is that the federal government has proven to be poor managers of the public lands — both fiscally and environmentally.  There was a time when the BLM was second only to the IRS in generating revenue for the US Treasury.  “Ecological Management” has changed all that — and has not helped the environment or critters along the way.


From → 2012 Interim

One Comment
  1. James Behunin permalink

    You ought to ask the legislative auditor general to nail down those numbers for you … and the cost to local government to provide services to the users of federal lands.

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