Sen. Murkowski Comments on Secure Rural Schools, PILT Extensions

Sen. Lisa Murkowski today commented on the inclusion of a Senate-passed amendment in the final version of the transportation bill, which would extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) programs for one year.

“I am happy to see that the conferees included the extensions to the Secure Rural Schools and PILT programs,” Murkowski said. “Secure Rural Schools funds are critical to supporting the schools, as well as for road maintenance programs in the affected communities. PILT payments are also crucial to support local government operations, such as road departments, law enforcement, and other services, of communities in Southeast Alaska.”

The bill will extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act authorization of one year, and will provide full funding for the PILT program for one year. The communities and borough governments in Southeast Alaska will receive their final Secure Rule Schools payment (FY 2012 payment) sometime between November 2012 and January 2013. They will receive their final fully funded PILT payment early in the summer of 2013.

Unless the re-authorizations of these programs are extended in the next Congress, the country will revert back to the normal payments from the Forest Service – based on 25 percent of the gross receipts generated from the National Forest in which the county is located.

In terms of PILT, counties will get one more year of full payments (FY 2013) next summer. The PILT program will then revert back to a reliance on the Interior Appropriations funding law, which historically has provided less than the full funding that the counties have enjoyed since 2008.