|December 30, 2022 11:16 AM
|Senator Cris Dush
|All Senate members
|Adjustment of Payment in Lieu of Taxes
|Soon, I will be re-introducing SB1143 which was sponsored by Senators Pittman, Gordner, Hutchinson and Baker and would adjust the amount that the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR), the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission pays to school districts, counties, and townships for land they own as payments in lieu of tax (PILT) due to inflation.
The primary source of local revenue for school districts is the property tax. However, state-owned forest, game and recreation lands are exempt from local property taxation. To make up for the exemption of this land for taxation, the Commonwealth makes a payment to local governments for this land. These payments in lieu of taxes are set at a flat rate per acre by state law last updated in 2016.
As we’ve all seen with the costs for consumer goods, inflation has risen at a historic rate. Increasing the base amounts would reflect the changes in payment value due to inflation since 2016 and adjusting the amount of the payments annually would also guarantee that those amounts are adjusted annually to ensure that the payments rise with the rate of inflation.
This especially impacts rural Pennsylvania, where a significant portion of the real estate is state-owned forest, game, and recreation lands. When those school districts are forced to increase property taxes for increasing mandated costs such as pensions, special education and charter school tuition, the impact is largely on homeowners because they cannot increase the PILT they receive from the state. Ensuring that the rate for PILT is annually adjusted will reduce the burden on homeowners when local governments need to increase local revenue via property taxes by ensuring that local governments are more fairly compensated for the state-owned lands which are exempt from taxation.
Please join me in sponsoring this important piece of legislation.
Introduced as SB225