Tuesday, June 20, 2023

By:  Mike Thomas


REDMOND, OR — All 36 Oregon counties will collectively receive more than $27-million this year from the federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes program – called PILT. 

It compensates counties with large amounts of federal lands managed by the Interior Department, which are exempt from property taxes. Payments are calculated based on the number of acres of federal land within each county or jurisdiction and the population of that county or jurisdiction.

Senator Jeff Merkley tells KBND News more money will be available this year, to help cover the costs of critical local services, including emergency response and infrastructure. “It came through statewide about a million dollars more than we had last year and Deschutes County about $200,000 more than last year.” Senators Merkley and Ron Wyden made the announcement last week.

“It came through and it came at a slightly modestly increased level which will be helpful given inflation. And Senator Wyden and I have continued to fight for both PILT and Secure Rural Schools,” Merkley says, adding PILT was easier to get than the Secure Rural Schools funding because more states are affected by tax-exempt federal lands.

Merkley says it is a challenge to try to make PILT permanent, “The prospects for that making it mandatory funding that is locked in through a trust fund or other strategy is such a huge budget item in terms of how it’s scored that we’ve always faced huge resistance to doing so.”

Crook County will get $1,834,700, Deschutes is getting $3,316,534, and Jefferson  will receive $568,377.