Tester announces critical payments for Montana counties

Montana receives nearly $27 million in PILT to pay for local infrastructure and education

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester today announced that Montana counties will receive nearly $27 million in Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) to pay for essential services for local residents.

PILT payments are made by the Department of the Interior to 55 Montana counties with federal lands that are not taxable by local governments, but the lands’ presence creates demands for local government services, such as law enforcement and infrastructure.

“PILT is a critical tool for Montana counties to improve schools, upgrade roads, and invest in rural communities,” Tester said. “These payments help keep rural communities alive, and we need to make PILT permanent to give rural counties the certainty they need to grow their communities.”

Mandatory full funding for PILT expired in 2014. Congress provided nearly full funding for PILT this year, but future funding for these payments to rural counties is not guaranteed.

Earlier this year, Tester introduced bipartisan legislation that would provide mandatory full funding for PILT payments. Failing to fund PILT will cause counties to withdraw money from reserve accounts to pay for essential services, like infrastructure and education, and may force counties to lay off essential employees.

A county-by-county break down of Montana’s PILT payments is available HERE.