Idaho U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, Washington Senator Patty Murray, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and 26 of their Senate colleagues on Wednesday requested that any end-of-year legislation include at least a two-year reauthorization of the Payments in Lieu of Taxes and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act programs.
In a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the senators wrote that Congress has an obligation to ensure counties with large swaths of federally-owned, tax-exempt forests and rangelands can adequately provide essential services for their residents. The senators say that without the certainty of those two critical programs, schools, libraries, and jails will close.
As part of a broader effort to ensure long-term financial stability for rural counties containing large swaths of federal lands, the Senators from Idaho, Oregon, and Colorado recently introduced legislation that would reauthorize the PILT program for ten years.
Also introduced was the Forest Management for Rural Stability Act to make SRS permanent by creating an endowment fund to provide stable, increasing, and reliable funding for county services. (Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo)