SALEM, Ore. – Cash-strapped county budgets got word Thursday, that their annual federal aid check is coming through. But as it stands, this year’s payments in lieu of property taxes could be the last of their kind.
Nearly every county in the Northwest receives at least some money based on its population and how much nontaxable public land is within its borders. The program -- called PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes program) for short -- expires this year. It’s up to congress to reauthorize it.
Gil Riddell, Policy Coordinator for the Association of Oregon Counties, predicts that despite congressional gridlock, the counties won’t be left out to dry.
“Our reading was that it’s a very popular program," Riddell says. "And it provides significant revenues for counties in states where the political clout lies in the senate. That’s also very advantageous.”
For decades, many counties have been dependent on this federal aid to support schools, roads, and forest management.
Riddell is also confident in the passage of a separate program called Secure Rural Schools, which hands out even more cash to struggling rural counties.
On the Web:
Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT):
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