June 17, 2004

Wyden, Smith Announce more than $6.2 Million for Oregon Counties

Counties will receive federal aid as part of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) announced that today, 34 Oregon counties will receive payments totaling $6,245,153 as part of the federal government's Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. The PILT program is designed to compensate local communities for tax revenue lost because of nontaxable federal land in their counties. "It is critical for the federal government to provide the proper amount of funding to communities that support federally owned lands and the agencies that manage them," said Wyden. "These funds are a good first step, but with more than half of Oregon's land being federally owned, we have a long way to go before PILT funding is where it should be." "When economic times are tough and federal lands aren't generating revenue for rural economies, PILT payments are the bare minimum that the federal government needs to take responsibility for," said Smith. "They are critical to helping communities meet growing demands for essential public services such as law enforcement, search and rescue, and sanitation." PILT funds can be used for any governmental purpose such as police protection, fire protection, or school and road maintenance.