NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has announced that 32 local governments in New Mexico will receive $42.1 million in Payments in Lieu of Taxes funding for 2021.
According to the Dept. of the Interior, PILT payments help local governments carry out services like firefighting and police protection, the construction of public schools, and roads, and search and rescue operations. According to a press release from the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, annual PILT payments help defray costs that are associated with maintaining vital community services as local governments can’t tax federal lands.
PILT payments are made yearly for tax-exempt federal lands administered by the Dept. of the Interior agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation. The payments also cover federal lands that are administered by the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The department states that payments are determined based on the number of acres of federal land within each county or jurisdiction and the population of that area. Since the start of the PILT payments in 1977, the department has distributed over $10.2 billion to the states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Annually, the department collects more than $10.3 billion in revenue from commercial activities on public lands like oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing, and timber harvesting. While a part of these revenues is shared with states and counties, the balance is deposited into the U.S. Treasure which then pays for various federal activities like PILT funding.