Meadows’ bill to reimburse counties with federal land

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., introduced legislation to supplement counties that have expended local taxes on federal land for services like fire protection, police cooperation, or longer roads to circumnavigate federal property. Counties are not allowed to tax federal lands. 

The bipartisan PILT and SRS Certainty Act would reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools Program (SRS) for five years and extend and provide funding for Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) for five years at an annual level of $465 million.

“Counties across North Carolina’s 11th district rely on SRS and PILT funding, and I am proud to join my colleague, Rep. Jared Polis, in re-introducing this important piece of legislation. This is a commonsense bill that ensures the federal government fulfills its commitments to rural counties across the country,” Meadows said.

Typically, the federal government provides PILT and SRS payments on an annual basis to hundreds of counties across the country in order to supplement reductions to their local property tax bases, due to a large presence of federal land. But for the past few years, both PILT and SRS have been in jeopardy due to Congress’s failure to reauthorize them on a long-term basis. Mandatory funding for PILT expired in Year 2013 and SRS program payments expired at the end of 2015.

Nearly 1,900 counties across 49 states receive PILT funding to compensate for lost tax revenue due to the large amounts of federal lands in their counties, which are un-taxable according to federal law. A breakdown of the payments by state and county can be found here.

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