Failing to be Good Neighbors

Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) is a program that provides payments to local governmental entities for the tax-exempt federal lands within their boundaries. It is a program that encourages the federal government to be a good neighbor. There are no lands within Bennett County that qualify for PILT. Nevertheless, the Bennett County Commissioners continue demanding that the federal government pay the county $1 million annually for Indian trust lands in the county, even though these lands are exempt from PILT, these lands are owned by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and by tribal citizens, the tribe and its citizens have no prepresentation on the commission, and the commissioners state that any money received will be used to reduce the property taxes of the non-Indian lands in the county. Click here to read, “Failing to be Good Neighbors," the CAIRNS Etanhan Wotanin column that is also published in the Lakota Times.