Nevada Sen. Dean Heller calls for permanent PILT funding |

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller calls for permanent PILT funding

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau
Dean Heller

Sen. Dean Heller has called on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to permanently authorize and fully fund the Payment In Lieu of Taxes program.

PILT compensates western states that have a disproportionate percentage of federal land within their borders for the fact that land is non-taxable. There are several counties in Nevada that are well over 90 percent federal land. Nevada as a whole is some 85 percent federally owned.

“Local governments across Nevada are saddled with the responsibility of providing vital public services such as law enforcement and infrastructure maintenance across large swaths of federal land,” he said.

He said funding through PILT pays for those services.

By contrast, President Trump’s initial budget proposals would sharply reduce PILT funding to its average levels over the past decade. For the most recent federal budget, PILT payments in Nevada totaled $7.29 million.

Heller, R-Nev., said the program is vitally important to Nevada and he believes it isn’t just a funding program “but an obligation on behalf of the federal government in exchange for the land that they use at a loss to the taxpayer.”

He said because of that, the program should be permanently authorized and he has teamed with a bipartisan group of colleagues to support legislation that would do just that.