Under its payments in lieu of taxes (PILT) program, the Department of the Interior (DOI) compensates counties for losses in their tax bases due to the presence of federal lands that are exempt from state and local taxation. Those payments are not subject to annual appropriation. Payments are calculated based on the number of qualifying federal acres and other federal payments received by the jurisdiction, and are capped based on population. S. 2108 would increase payment caps for counties with populations of less than 4,500.
The authority for DOI to issue payments, without further appropriation, expires after 2020. Spending under the PILT program totaled $516 million in 2019. Using information from DOI, CBO estimates that enacting S. 2108 would increase direct spending for those payments by $2 million in 2020.