State to get $13.5 million in federal land payments

Nevada's local governments will get $13.5 million in funding under the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program this year.

While Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., applauded the total as a record dollar amount for Nevada's counties, Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., pointed out it's still less than half the amount he believes counties should receive.

"While I am glad to see that this year's funding is an increase from last year, unfortunately it is only a small increase and does not fully meet Nevada's needs resulting from the federal ownership of so much of our state's land," said Gibbons.

PILT is a program created to compensate state and local governments with high percentages of federal land within their borders. The governments are affected by federal presence in their territories but don't collect the amount of tax money they get from private owners since federal lands are exempt from property taxes.

"Too many of Nevada's counties - particularly our rural counties - have no ability to gain revenue from local taxes because so much of their land is managed by the federal government," Gibbons said.

Ensign said he was pleased the total funding is $362,434 higher than it was last year, and said counties stand to get even more next year since the president's proposed budget for 2005 contains $226 million - the largest request under PILT ever.

Nevada is a recipient because some 86 percent of the state is federally held lands. In some rural counties, the percentage is well over 90 percent, leaving those counties unable to raise enough property tax revenue to cover increasing expenses.


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