Murkowski Welcomes PILT Payments to Alaska

Program Provides Economic Boost for Alaskan Communities

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced today that the Department of the Interior is distributing $31,683,971 to eligible local governments across Alaska through the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. The PILT program provides monetary compensation to local governments in the state that contain federal lands that are not subject to state or local taxation. This revenue supports local governments in providing essential services, such as construction of public schools and roads, firefighting and police protection, and search-and-rescue operations.

Through her role as chairman of the Senate Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murkowski worked to secure full funding at $514.7 million for the nationwide PILT program in Fiscal Year 2020.

“With the federal government controlling over 60 percent of Alaska’s lands, PILT funding has always been important for our state. But now, with COVID-19 causing widespread uncertainty and instability, PILT will be critical in helping boroughs across Alaska to maintain sustainable economies. This program helps keep schools up and running, bolsters life-saving emergency services, and helps ensure firefighters and police officers are able to safely and effectively do their jobs,” said Senator Murkowski. “We worked hard in the appropriations process to secure full funding for Alaska through this program. Now, as the Department of the Interior distributes these much needed payments, I look forward to seeing positive impacts they will have in Alaskan communities.”

Click here for a link to the 2020 payments to individual Alaskan communities.

Senator Murkowski is also an original cosponsor of the Small Counties PILT Parity Act, S. 2108, which would increase the maximum allowable payment for local governments with populations of less than 5,000. The bill was passed by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on December 12, 2019. The proposed formula change would increase payments to the following small boroughs in Alaska: Aleutians East Borough, Bristol Bay Borough, City and Borough of Wrangell, City and Borough of Yakutat, Denali Borough, Haines Borough, Lake and Peninsula Borough, Municipality of Skagway, and Petersburg Borough. 

Background: PILT provides annual payments to local governments, including counties, boroughs, and parishes, across the United States that contain federal lands. These payments help offset the cost of maintaining a variety of community services. Unlike private lands, federal lands are not subject to local taxes, often making it difficult for rural communities to budget for these essential services.   

Related Issues: Budget, Spending, and the National Debt, Energy