Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced Monday that San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties are receiving more than $4 million in federal funding under the 2013 Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.
The PILT program compensates counties and local governments for their investments in non-taxable federal land in their jurisdictions, such as national parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas. PILT seeks to compensate them for their support and foregoing tax revenue from these federal lands. For the 2013 fiscal year, San Luis Obispo will receive $1,045,095, Santa Barbara $1,703,782 and Ventura $1,374,599.
“I’m so glad to see that our local counties will be getting these payments to help fund the important services they provide our citizens, like firefighting and police coverage, the construction of schools, and strengthened transportation infrastructure,” Capps said. “These services are vital to our communities. We are lucky to have the Los Padres National Forest and Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge in our backyard, but it’s important to remember that our local counties provide significant support for these lands. I’m glad to see the federal government recognize this and, more importantly, compensate our local jurisdictions for their assistance.
“I am, however, disappointed to see that this year’s funding has decreased over last year’s because of budget sequestration. This cut is yet another example of how our communities are being harmed by these across-the-board cuts and why we need to get to work to undo this reckless and misguided policy without further delay.”
Supervisor Salud Carbajal, chair of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, said: “PILT funding is an important revenue stream that helps Santa Barbara County provide critical services to our local communities. The full funding of this program is affirmation of the federal government’s partnership with counties like ours that have significant public lands and benefits our local residents.”
In the 2012 fiscal year, San Luis Obispo received $1,069,926, Santa Barbara $1,739,340 and Ventura $1,402,748. Each county is receiving less funding due to sequestration even though PILT formulas are adjusted for inflation and rates were increased for 2013 from 2012. Nationally, the total authorized level for 2013 is $421.7 million, which was reduced by $21.5 million due to budget sequestration.
PILT program eligibility is reserved for local governments that contain non-taxable federal lands and provide vital services, such as public safety, housing, social services and transportation. Using a formula provided by statute, the annual PILT payments to local governments are computed based on the number of acres of federal entitlement land within each county or jurisdiction and the population of that county or jurisdiction. The lands include the National Forest and National Park Systems, the areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management, those affected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water resource development projects and others.
This year’s PILT program is the last to be funded under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (P.L. 112-141), which Rep. Capps voted for. PILT funding comes from a portion of the revenue generated by commercial activities on federal lands, after revenue-sharing payments are shared with states and counties.
— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.