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June 30, 2020

House Climate Crisis Action Plan Highlights Rep. Kirkpatrick’s PILT Bill

Rep. Kirkpatrick’s Legislation Stabilizes Funding Distribution for Counties and Local Governments

(Tucson, AZ)– On Tuesday, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis unveiled a comprehensive congressional climate action framework, highlighting Rep. Kirkpatrick’s bill H.R.3043 – Permanently Reauthorizing PILT Act, as an important tool in the effort to solve the climate crisis.

The Select Committee’s climate action framework outlines ambitious and achievable policies to:

  • Grow our economy and put Americans back to work in clean energy jobs
  • Protect the health of all families
  • Make sure our communities and farmers can withstand the impacts of climate change
  • Protect America’s land and water for the next generation

The report specifically recommends timely action on the PILT program, which provides local governments with funding that helps offset lost property tax revenue due to non-taxable federal lands within their boundaries. Local governments in around 1,900 counties in 49 states rely on these critical payments.

PILT payments have been distributed and used to fund essential community services like education, infrastructure, emergency services, waste disposal, and law enforcement. Under current law, Congress must reauthorize the PILT program on an annual basis. Because PILT funding is subject to the annual appropriations process, local governments are left to wonder whether they will be receiving the funding they need. Rep. Kirkpatrick’s legislation, H.R. 3043 – Permanently Reauthorizing PILT Act is a simple fix to that real uncertain process.

Rep. Kirkpatrick has been a strong supporter of the PILT program, and has worked across the aisle to garner co-sponsorships for this legislation, for years.

Every county in Arizona receives PILT payments; many smaller and rural counties really rely on PILT payments to fund vital community services. For many Arizona localities, PILT funding helps ensure that our federal land and incredible landscapes are preserved and provided proper maintenance. Whether it’s for waste disposal or investments in new green climate-friendly technologies, the funds allocated to our counties help make our communities better. Making these payments permanent is noncontroversial and nonpartisan, it’s common-sense — a win for everyone,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “Especially as our smaller communities face financial hurdles from this pandemic, it’s crucial that Congress help stabilize its funding distribution. The more stable our local budgets, the stronger our communities will be.”

“We appreciate Congresswoman Kirkpatrick’s efforts to ensure that the PILT program is permanently funded and not subject to the uncertainty of the appropriations cycle,” said Matthew Chase, Executive Director of National Association of Counties. “We urge Congress to fulfill its promise to public lands counties and pass this legislation swiftly.”

“PILT is an obligation of the federal government and county taxpayers directly depend on these resources; however, the U.S. Congress has been treating PILT funding as a discretionary program, subjecting it to the uncertainty of the annual appropriations process,” said Russell McCloud & Craig A. Sullivan, President & Executive Director of the County Supervisors Association of Arizona. “[The Permanently Authorizing PILT Act] is a top priority for Arizona counties and the more than 1,850 public lands counties across the country.”

“All of Arizona’s 15 counties rely on the PILT program to help provide essential services,” explained Jen Marson, Executive Director of the Arizona Association of Counties. “Some counties use it for search and rescue operation, others for vaccinations or law enforcement services. The revenue that Arizona’s counties receive in PILT is a crucial component in helping counties help Arizonans. PILT was a mandatory classification through 2014 and we are grateful that Congresswoman Kirkpatrick is working to ensure that this vital program is permanently funded.”

The Select Committee’s plan would put the country on a path to net-zero carbon pollution by 2050, if not earlier. It would power economic recovery through clean energy investment and family-sustaining jobs and address the legacy of environmental injustice harming America’s low-income communities and communities of color.

“House Democrats recognize that we have the moral imperative to meet this moment with a bold climate action plan to reduce carbon pollution, create much-needed jobs to rebuild our economy, and tackle the systemic injustice of environmental racism head-on,” said Rep. Kathy Castor, Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

The full Select Committee report is viewable here.

Background:

  • The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis was created at the outset of the 116th Congress to deliver policy recommendations to other House committees on how to solve the climate crisis.

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