This week, the House Appropriations Committee released their draft Fiscal Year 2018 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. This bill would fund the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal resources agencies. The bill would fund the Federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program at $465 million, the same as the Fiscal Year 2017 level.
The Trump Administration has requested $397 million – a 15 percent reduction in the 2018 Federal Budget. It should be noted that there is no funding for the Secure Rural Schools program in the bill (a separate authorization bill is needed).
Federal PILT payments to local governments help offset losses in property taxes due to non-taxable federal lands within their boundaries. Federal PILT payments support a variety of local government programs and services, including police and fire departments, emergency medical services, and search and rescue operations.
The House Appropriations Committee marked up the bill on Thursday. However, the House and the Senate Appropriations Committee process is behind schedule as the end of the federal Fiscal Year is looming. The Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee is still conducting budget hearings and has yet to release a bill outlining funding for federal resource agencies.
RCRC and our federal government partners continue to advocate for permanent and full funding of the Federal PILT program. The breakdown of the bill can be accessed here.