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PILT Bill Gains Legislative Momentum

On April 22, 2014, the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) sponsored SB 1410 (Wolk/Nielsen) passed out of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on consent. SB 1410 is now headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee. SB 1410 will appropriate monies to 36 counties for outstanding obligations relating to Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) payments.

“Small, rural counties have been encumbered by unpaid PILT payments for more than a decade, all while trying to maintain the services and programs that our residents rely on,” said Nate Beason, RCRC Chair and Nevada County Supervisor. “Collecting these long overdue payments and getting the state back on track with annual payments has been a crusade of RCRC’s, and we thank Senator Wolk, Senator Nielsen, and the 23 other bipartisan co-authors for their leadership on this critical rural county issue.”

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) owes 36 counties more than $17 million in past due PILT payments, all while local governments are doing everything within their power to reduce expenses and tighten budgets in order to fund critical programs and services for residents. RCRC has long advocated for the payment of these past due payments and continued annual payments to counties as obligated. In addition to requesting $19 million in General Fund dollars for outstanding obligations, SB 1410 will also appropriate $2 million in annual funding for PILT.

California PILT was established in 1949 to offset adverse impacts to county property tax revenues that result when the State acquires private property for wildlife management areas. The DFW has neglected to make annual PILT payments in more than a decade.
SB 1410 is coauthored by a bipartisan group of 25 legislators from many of the counties impacted by this issue. The bill text can be accessed here.■

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