Letter to the Editor: We need PILT to the hilt - Local governments lose taxes when land is not available for development

from Pahrump Valley Times
Pahrump, Nevada

Dear commissioners,

The federal government exercises control over about 87 percent of Nevada's land. In Nye County, the figure is closer to 98 percent. This control causes local governments to lose taxes because so much land is not available for development. Recognizing this, Congress passed legislation creating Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) to compensate for these losses. I realize that you are aware of this program conducted through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

I read that the Department of Interior requested only $165 million for PILT funding in its fiscal year 2003 budget, which is $45 million less than the amount that was allocated in FY 2002. The authorized level is $335 million. The amounts requested and allocated are unacceptable.

One need only look at the county's school district and Pahrump's emergency services to know that these funds are desperately needed. Therefore, I suggest you take action rather than accept such a large shortage. Voice your objections to our federal legislators. Solicit the aid of our government; state legislators and other counties and local governments. Use the media to inform the people and request their assistance.

Our federal legislators recently passed a farm bill laden with pork. They continually provide billions for foreign aid knowing that corrupt governments squander much of lit. Clearly, the PILT program could be fully funded without jeopardizing other federal programs.


Leonard J. Coenen
Pahrump, Nevada


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