Providing for Consideration of Senate Amendments to H.R. 3547, Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Actby Representative Rob Bishop
Posted on 2014-01-15
BISHOP of Utah. Madam Speaker, I rise to engage in a colloquy
with Agriculture Committee Chairman Lucas of Oklahoma and Interior
Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Calvert of California regarding
the issue of Federal land ownership and Payments in Lieu of Taxes,
commonly known as PILT.
PILT is a program for counties all across America that have federally owned lands within their boundaries. Counties in every State, except Rhode Island, benefit from this program first established in 1979. PILT helps to offset the loss of property tax revenues caused by the presence of Federal land. The Federal Government is the largest landowner in the United States, and PILT fulfills the Federal Government's obligation to local communities where their ownership presence is the greatest.
One out of every 3 acres in our country is federally owned. As you can see from the map, most of this land is concentrated in the West. Counties with Federal land in their jurisdictions are denied property tax revenues typical of communities with privately owned land. The diminished tax base hinders rural communities from fulfilling some of their most basic functions, such as education and public safety.
PILT's previous funding has expired, and now we are in a situation where we have to find a new source. We were pleased yesterday when the Speaker and majority leader pledged their support to the Western Caucus that qualified counties would receive 2014 funding.
Subcommittee Chairman Calvert, as we continue to work on 2014 funding matters, it seems apparent that funding for PILT will be included in another important legislative vehicle in the future. Is that your understanding? I yield to the gentleman from California.