Created: 06/18/2014 8:11 AM
By: The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - The federal government will be sending more than $37 million to New Mexico to compensate counties for non-taxable federal lands within their borders.
The U.S. Interior Department announced the payments Tuesday. They're made each year as part of the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Program.
Nearly $437 million will be paid out nationally this year. Federal officials say that marks the largest amount ever allocated under the program. New Mexico will be getting nearly $3 million more than last fiscal year.
U.S Rep. Steve Pearce says the program is vital to all of New Mexico, especially rural counties. The payments help local governments carry out services such as police protection, firefighting and the building of schools and roads.
The Obama administration has proposed extending funding for another year.
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