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Kentucky Counties Keep Fighting for Payment In Lieu of Taxes Money for Federal Lands

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The Kentucky Association of Counties is joining the fight with the National Association of Counties to push Congress to continue payments in lieu of taxes for federal lands.

The federal government pays in lieu of tax funds to the counties instead of paying local property taxes for the land. KACo Executive Director and CEO Denny Nunnelley said in recent years it’s been a fight to get the funding that provides vital services on federal lands.

“A party that’s gained a few seats in the last few years that are not for line items and they’re not for earmarking money and they’re not for federal entitlement programs. They want to cut all those,” he said. “This falls into that category and so it’s been a fight for the past three of four years to make sure it remains in the federal budget.”

Nunnelley said this year nearly half of Kentucky counties receive some PILT totaling more than $2 million.

“(PILT funds go to) the same thing that your taxes on your automobile or the taxes on your house. Your ad valorum taxes go into the General Fund for the county which then pays for law enforcement or parks and rec or county roads or running the jail, operating the courthouse,” Nunnelley said. “All General Fund dollars that are expended by your fiscal court that where those PILT moneys go to.”

Trigg and McCreary counties receive the most in-lieu of tax funds in the Commonwealth. Trigg County received about $228,000 and McCreary County more than $197,000. Nationally, the federal government paid $437 million to about 1,900 counties this year for federal properties.

Whitney grew up listening to Car Talk to and from her family’s beach vacation each year, but it wasn’t until a friend introduced her to This American Life that radio really grabbed her attention. She is a recent graduate from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., where she studied journalism. When she’s not at WKMS, you can find her working on her backyard compost pile and garden, getting lost on her bicycle or crocheting one massive blanket.
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