A bipartisan coalition of legislators from California’s rural counties are applauding two local state senators for introducing legislation that would fill a hole left in their budgets when the state stopped making payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) payments.
In addition to requesting $19 million in general fund dollars for outstanding obligations, SB 1410 would appropriate $2 million in annual funding for PILT. The bill is co-authored by state Sens. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber.
“This has been an ongoing issue for 13 years,” Wolk said in a news release. “Small, rural counties throughout the state have particularly felt the weight of this burden.
“This measure will appropriate $19 million to the Department of Fish and Wildlife to make past-due PILT payments to counties, paying off this debt once and for all.”
California’s PILT program was established in 1949 to offset adverse impacts to county property tax revenues that result when the state acquires private property for wildlife management areas. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has not made its annual PILT payments in more than a decade.
“While the administration has indicated that paying off debts is one of their top priorities, we have yet to see them live up to their obligations to our counties,” said Nate Beason, chairman of the Regional Council of Rural Counties and a Nevada County supervisor.
SB 1410 is co-authored by a bipartisan group of 18 other legislators — including Mariko Yamada, D-Davis — from many of the affected counties.