U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced today (June 26) that the Department of the Interior is distributing more than $29.69 million to eligible local governments throughout Alaska. These payments are made to boroughs and counties across the United States that contain federal lands to help offset the cost of maintaining community services, such as first responders, public schools, and road construction. Unlike private lands, federal lands are not subject to local taxes, often making it difficult for rural communities to budget for these services.
The Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) federal program provides monetary compensation to local governments that contain non-taxable Federal lands such as National Forests, Bureau of Land Management public lands, National Parks, and other public lands. The revenue helps local governments provide essential services to Alaskan communities, such as firefighting and police protection, public schools and roads, and search-and-rescue operations.
Through her role as chairman of the Senate Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murkowski ensured the PILT program received $465 million, an increase of $13 million above last year’s level, including a $734,000 increase for Alaska.
“While Alaska continues to face an economic crunch, so many of our communities across the state are grappling with the tough task of figuring out how to direct resources where they are critically needed to provide even the basic core functions of government. I’m happy that at a time when we need it most, Alaskan communities are receiving the funding owed to them,” said Senator Murkowski. “Considering that over 60 percent of Alaska’s lands are controlled by the federal government, the PILT program ensures communities a source of critical funding to help pay for emergency services, roads and other essential services that would normally rely on support via local property taxes.”