Cantwell Joins Bipartisan Group to Request Full Funding for the PILT Program

PILT Provides Counties and Local Governments with Critical Funding for Essential Services

Edmonds, WA – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell joined her colleagues Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) and a bipartisan group of 33 other senators to urge Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and Richard Shelby (R-AL), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, to fully fund the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program for fiscal year (FY) 2022. PILT provides payments to counties with non-taxable federal land within their borders to offset the lost property tax revenue.

“Rural counties are home to our iconic national parks, national forests, and federal lands. The unpredictability of PILT funding has been devastating to rural America for decades, and the pandemic has only further strained their budgets. It’s our obligation to ensure they have predictable funding to support emergency response, infrastructure maintenance, and other essential services,” said Senator Cantwell.

Through the PILT program alone, tens of millions of dollars have been invested in Washington counties to help local governments provide vital services like firefighting, police protection, and construction of public roads. Washington State received over $23 million and $24.1 million from PILT in fiscal years 2019 and 2020, respectively. As communities continue to rebuild in the aftermath of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, this funding is needed now more than ever.



Amount received in 2020


$3.2 million


$2.7 million


$2.0 million


$1.6 million


$1.5 million


$1.3 million


$1.1 million


$1.1 million

Pend Oreille

$1.1 million

You can find other counties and amounts received here.

Senator Cantwell has long supported PILT and SRS and has repeatedly fought against proposals to cut funding from these programs. In 2020, Senator Cantwell joined a bipartisan group to urge the Senate to pass a long-term solution for PILT funding and to support rural communities amidst the pandemic. In 2019, Cantwell called on congressional leaders to include at least a two-year reauthorization of the program in any end-of-year legislation.

In addition to Cantwell, Bennet and Crapo, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), James Risch (R-ID), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

The text of the letter is available HERE and below.

Dear Chairman Leahy and Vice Chairman Shelby:

As Members of Congress representing counties with federal public lands within their boundaries, we write to request that you work to ensure the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program is fully funded in fiscal year (FY) 2022.

PILT provides critical resources to nearly 1,900 counties across 49 states to offset lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt federal lands within their jurisdictions. It supports the many critical services that counties provide on federal public lands. Without full funding for the PILT program, counties across the nation will be unable to provide essential services such as law enforcement, education, search and rescue, road maintenance and public health to their residents and millions of visitors to our public lands.

Moving forward, we look forward to working with you to enact a fiscally responsible, long-term solution to fully fund PILT and eliminate the uncertainty that counties face each year. As cash strapped counties across the country work to address budget cuts exacerbated by the pandemic, full-funding and a long-term solution for PILT is essential to provide certainty that the federal government will continue to uphold its long-standing commitment to public lands counties.

We look forward to working with you and other Congressional leaders to resolve this pressing issue facing our communities by fully funding PILT in FY 2022 and ensuring long-term predictable funding for this important program.