Reid: Rural Nevada Counties to Receive Geothermal Revenues
December 21, 2010
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today made the following statement after the Senate passed a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government through March 4, 2011.
As part of the legislation, Senator Reid included a provision that will restore much-needed geothermal revenue to rural counties throughout Nevada:
“I’m pleased that geothermal revenue will be restored to rural counties in Nevada as part of a bipartisan agreement to avoid a dangerous government shut down that would be devastating for Nevadans,” Reid said “Nevada’s rural counties rely on this funding for essential services such as public safety, transportation and education. By restoring these full payments, we’re putting this money back into the community where it belongs to create jobs and strengthen our local economies.”
BACKGROUND ON REID’S WORK FOR RURAL NEVADA:
States like Nevada with large percentages of public lands lack the same tax base that other states enjoy, which means that our rural counties need PILT funding and any other revenue they can get from economic activity, like geothermal energy production, on those public lands.
In 2008, Reid spearheaded the legislation that fully funds PILT (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) to ensure that Nevada’s rural communities have sufficient funding for important public programs. With 87 percent of Nevada’s land owned by the federal government, counties rely on PILT payments for essential services and improvements in several areas.
PILT is paid to counties to compensate for the loss of tax revenue due to federal land ownership. The formula used to compute the payments is based on population levels, receipt sharing payments, and the amount of Federal land within an affected county. While the Interior Department distributes PILT to 49 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, much of the money goes to counties in western states where the federal government owns large tracts of land. The program was created in 1977.