Cantwell Supports Boost in Funding for Payments to Counties

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced this morning that a Senate appropriations bill contains a big boost to a program that brings millions of dollars total each year to Washington state counties hosting a large number of federal employees and federal lands.

"These funds will help our schools, repair our roads, and provide better tools for firefighters," Cantwell said. "It prevents local taxpayers from being burdened by the need to care for nearby federal lands."

The payments help counties that have tax-exempt federal lands within their boundaries by offsetting the costs of providing services to federal employees and users of the public lands. Without the payments, local taxpayers would have to bear the financial burden alone for those services, including education, solid waste disposal, law enforcement, search and rescue, health care, environmental compliance, firefighting, housing, social services, and transportation.

Funding for the "payments in lieu of taxes" (PILT) program in 2006 will jump $8.2 million over last year's level, to $235 million. That meets the funding level requested by the National Association of Counties, and represents an increase of $35 million over the President's budget.

The funds were included in the Senate version of the fiscal year 2006 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The full House of Representatives passed a spending bill last month that included $242 million for PILT.

PILT payments (in dollars) for counties in Washington state Washington State County FY 2004 Adams County $15,598 Asotin County $57,246 Benton County $56,630 Chelan County $931,388 Clallam County $180,262 Clark County $136 Columbia County $108,966 Cowlitz County $6,515 Douglas County $69,705 Ferry County $202,586 Franklin County $42,078 Garfield County $74,261 Grant County $88,095 Grays Harbor County $34,407 Island County $17,159 Jefferson County $133,390 King County $66,720 Kittitas County $391,536 Klickitat County $12,705 Lewis County $90,055 Lincoln County $96,974 Mason County $31,277 Okanogan County $994,028 Pacific County $3,395 Pend Oreille County $368,769 Pierce County $148,762 San Juan County $3,350 Skagit County $384,712 Skamania County $160,817 Snohomish County $120,089 Spokane County $2,094 Stevens County $202,782 Thurston County $118 Walla Walla County $31,654 Whatcom County $623,586 Whitman County $28,094 Yakima County $99,939 Total Payments for Washington $5,879,878

Source: National Association of Counties

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