The U.S. House today passed a farm bill that includes programs for Alaska unrelated to agriculture. The bill continues another year of funding for Payment in Lieu of Taxes, a program that pays municipalities surrounded by federal land to compensate for the loss of tax base. The so-called PILT program sends about $26 million a year to Alaska and is a large portion of the budget for some local governments. The bill also renews Alaska’s Village Safe Water program, which gets some $30 million a year from the federal government.
The final bill did not include a proposed cut to the food stamp program, which Congressman Don Young says would have hurt thousands of Alaska families. The farm bill passed overwhelmingly in the House and is expected to come up for a final vote in the Senate next week.