Saturday, April 10, 2021

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PILT Payments Remain Unfunded Despite Surplus, and Governor’s Commitment to Debt Repayment

Despite a surplus and a stated commitment to pay down the State’s debts, the Governor’s May Revision of the 2014-15 State Budget failed to include the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) payments due to California counties. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) owes 36 counties more than $18 million in past due PILT payments.

PILT payments have not been paid out to counties in more than a decade. RCRC has long advocated for the payment of these past due payments and continued annual payments to counties as obligated.

“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.

Earlier this year, a bipartisan coalition of legislators joined the effort to advocate for PILT payments and ongoing funding through the introduction of Senate Bill 1410 (Wolk/Nielsen). SB 1410 will appropriate monies to 36 counties for outstanding obligations relating to PILT payments. The bill currently has 25 co-authors, and has received support from RCRC, the California Association of Counties (CSAC), and more than 16 individual impacted counties. The bill is currently on the Suspense File, scheduled to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee Friday.

“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 of SB 1410 for their leadership on this critical rural county issue,” continued Beason.

Earlier this week, the DFW released an updated spreadsheet detailing unpaid PILT fees to date. The DFW spreadsheet can be accessed here.

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