Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson cosponsored two bills that would provide payments to counties with significant percentages of federal land. The Permanently Authorizing PILT Act would eliminate the uncertainty of annual PILT payments by permanently funding the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program which provides more than $30 million a year to Idaho counties. Congressman Simpson also cosponsored H.R. 3048 which would extend the Secure Rural Schools program which provides payments to counties with national forests who have seen revenue from timber sales decline beginning in the early 1990’s. Both programs fund essential local services such as education and roads.
“PILT and SRS are critical to Idaho counties,” said Congressman Simpson. “This is essentially the federal government’s property tax for counties where there is large amounts of federal land. If you don’t have the ability to collect local property taxes, these programs are necessary to provide funding for schools, roads, and other local services – especially in small rural counties. That is why I am proud to continue my support for PILT and SRS through cosponsoring H.R. 3043 and 3048.”
Congressman Simpson also cosponsored H.R. 3716, which would fix the PILT formula to benefit smaller population counties without impacting larger counties defined as 5,000 or more in population. This would potentially benefit six Idaho counties who currently receive PILT payments.
All the bills have bipartisan support.