Senator Murray Pushes for Full Funding for PILT for Tri-Cities Region

(Washington, D.C.) – During an Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water hearing, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, questioned U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm about why the Department of Energy (DOE) budget proposes the elimination of Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funding for Hanford and called for full funding of PILT.

“PILT funding is intended to compensate local governments for taxes they cannot collect because the land is federal property, and they use that money to help support schools, hospitals, libraries, emergency services, and other critical community services and needs…this was really surprising – and I have to be clear here, not acceptable,” Senator Murray said of the proposed PILT cuts. “I want to be clear that [PILT funding] cannot be eliminated or cut back in any way – the Tri-Cities rely on this funding, and they are owed this funding as a result of the sacrifices and commitments they made during World War II.”

Benton, Franklin, and Grant Counties receive PILT funding from the DOE as compensation for non-taxable federal land at the Hanford site to offset lost property tax revenue. The PILT program provides tens of millions of dollars in funding to help these counties provide vital services like firefighting, public safety, and construction of public roads. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Washington state received over $9.47 million from DOE for PILT in fiscal year 2017.