UPDATE: On Wednesday, November 13, the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) announced that a bi-partisan coalition of legislators sent a letter to Governor Brown urging that funding be included in the 2014-15 state Budget to bring the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) current on past due monies owed to counties for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT).
“The Administration has indicated that paying off California’s debts is one of their top priorities,” stated Nate Beason, RCRC First Vice Chair and Nevada County Supervisor. “These past due PILT payments are one of those debts.”
The letter was signed by a bi-partisan collection of 23 California state legislators. Read more about the PILT debt below.
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For more than a decade, the State of California has failed to make legally-obligated payments—to the tune of over $17 million—to 36 of its counties. Counties across the state are now asking for that money back.
The Rural County Representatives of California (RNRC) are behind the movement. On Thursday, October 17, the RNRC urged Gov. Jerry Brown to honor the state’s legal and financial obligations to counties as it related to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (DFW) Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT).
They are requesting that past due payments be included in the 2014-15 state budget and that annual payment schedules are resumed.
California PILT 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.
DFW Code Section 1504 specifies that when income is derived directly from real property acquired and operated by the State as wildlife management areas, the DFW shall pay annually to the county in which the property is located an amount equal to the county taxes levied upon the property at the time title was transferred to the State.
The DFW has neglected to make annual PILT payments in over 10 years.
“Counties across the state are doing everything in their power to reduce expenses and tighten budgets to fund critical programs and services for residents,” said Nate Beason, RCRC First Vice Chair and Nevada County Supervisor. “All the while, the State owes 36 California counties more than $17 million in past due PILT payments. The Administration has indicated that paying off California’s debts is one of their top priorities. These past due PILT payments are one of those debts.”
The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) is comprised of thirty-three member counties. It functions to champion policies on behalf of California’s rural counties and provide legislative and regulatory representation at the State and Federal levels.
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How much does the DFW owe your county? See below:
DEL NORTE: $619,672
SAN BERNARDINO: $69,970
SAN DIEGO: $770,276
SAN LUIS OBISPO: $542