AZ counties continue to be compensated for untaxable fed. land - Tucson News Now

AZ counties continue to be compensated for untaxable federal land

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Arizona counties are breathing a sigh of relief.

They came close to losing a federal program that is essential to their finances.

The "Payment in Lieu of Taxes" program, or PILT, compensates counties for federal land they can't tax. That includes things like national park and forest land.

That's a lot of land in Arizona: a little more than 28 million acres.

There was a chance PILT would die this year, but it is extended for one year under the new compromise farm bill that has passed the U.S. House and is expected to get the Senate's endorsement.

Members of Congress who want the PILT extension say PILT money goes to almost 2,000 counties in 49 states.

Most of the money, about $400 million last year, went to 12 western states.

In fact, Arizona is one of the four states that got the largest share.

Arizona got $32,203,852 in fiscal year 2013.

(Click here to see 2013 totals for all Arizona counties.) 

All Arizona counties benefit.

Let's use the southeastern Arizona counties of Pima, Cochise and Santa Cruz as an example.

Last fiscal year, Pima County got $2,924,105 through PILT.

Cochise County got $1,986,080 because of untaxable federal lands within its boundaries.

Santa Cruz County received $910,527 from the PILT program.

Counties use PILT funds for basic services such as law enforcement and infrastructure.

In many cases, local governments provide critical services on those lands.

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