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Federal Funds Loss Will Devastate Counties

AACO LOGOSedona AZ (January 27, 2014) –  The Arizona Association of Counties (AACo) has adopted a resolution urging Congress to fully fund the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program for FY 2014. AACo, the only statewide organization representing leaders of each of Arizona’s 15 counties and the governments they serve, comprises 332 county elected officials statewide. Collectively, this bipartisan group of county leaders recognizes the importance of PILT funding and the devastating impact Arizona’s communities will face without it.

The PILT program, established by Congress in 1976, provides federal funding to counties that host large tracts of non-taxable federal land, making it possible for these local governments to provide police and fire protection, road maintenance and health services. In Arizona – which contains more than 28 million acres of federal land, or about a quarter of the state’s acreage – PILT payments meant about $32 million statewide in FY 2013.

“These revenues are mission critical to our counties, many of whom have struggled with massive budget and service cuts over the past few years,” said Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson, the president of AACo. “PILT is not something Congress should pick and choose to fund. It’s a federal responsibility to local jurisdictions, who absolutely count on that funding for vital services.”

Among Arizona’s 15 counties, the top 4 county PILT payments go to rural counties with smaller budgets and more pronounced need, including: Yuma County ($3.24 million); Mohave County ($3.24 million); Gila County ($3.20 million) and Yavapai County ($2.97 million). Among the hardest hit locales: Graham County, whose FY13 $2.6 million PILT payment represented 15% of the General Fund budget and Greenlee County, whose $783,000 payment represented more than 30% of the county’s budget.

“There are real cuts looming without this funding,” explained Supervisor Johnson. “Without its $1 million in PILT monies, Santa Cruz faces cutting 20 jobs come July 1st. And in Yuma, the loss of more than $3 million in federal funding could result in 70 lost employees. These are unacceptable cuts when all Congress needs to do is fund a program counties have been relying on for 40 years.”

The Arizona Association of Counties (AACo) is the only state organization that represents all county officials and the governments they serve in the State of Arizona. Founded in 1968, AACo provides essential services to the state’s counties. AACo advances issues with the state and federal government, improves the public understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. For more information on AACo, visit www.azcounties.org.

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1 Comment

  1. Tree Mename says:

    Homestead some of it out and let people wanting to start their own place pay the taxes.

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