Rural Counties Lose Out After County Payments Left Out Of Spending Bill

first_img on December 11, 2014 0 Rural Counties Lose Out After County Payments Left Out Of Spending Bill Tumblr E-Headlines However, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) today announced that House and Senate leaders have agreed to a plan that fully funds the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Program (PILT), providing much needed funding for essential local services to Oregon counties. Walden also announced that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Republican Leaders have pledged to make a federal forest policy reform bill a priority in the next Congress and that the House will consider an extension of the Secure Rural Schools program in the first quarter of 2015.WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Republican leaders rejected Sen. Ron Wyden’s efforts to fund and pass county payments for one more year. The decision will leave cash-strapped Oregon counties with little money to fund law-enforcement, schools and roads.“Rural Oregonians deserve better than to have politics put on hold this essential lifeline for funding roads, firefighters and schools,” Wyden said. “I will not stop fighting for Oregon’s rural counties. I’ll be back at it when Congress returns in January.”More than 700 counties in 41 states receive Secure Rural Schools funding. Last year, Oregon counties received more than $107 million through the Secure Rural Schools program and more than $17 million from Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT). It appears that PILT may be funded, but Secure Rural Schools remains on the cutting room floor.In response Walden issued the following statement:“I have worked hard with Reps. Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader on a bipartisan bill to reform federal forest policy. The House has twice passed the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act (HR 1526), a bipartisan plan to grow jobs in the woods, improve forest health, and provide funding for important local services like schools and roads. It’s unfortunate that Senate Democratic leaders failed to act on this bill or any meaningful reforms to forest policy that would have opened up discussions for a compromise.“Speaker Boehner has pledged that the House will work with the new Republican majority in the Senate next year to send the president a long-term solution to provide certainty for rural forested communities and the people who live there. The Speaker has also pledged that the House will act to provide an extension of the Secure Rural Schools program in the first quarter of next year.“If the Senate would have acted on federal forest policy reform, it would have gone a long way towards providing a long-term solution to actively managing our forests to grow jobs and revenue. But I remain strongly supportive of getting the job done with a viable pay-for once and for all without political gimmickry. I will work with the relevant committees on this solution, and I’m confident we’ll achieve a better and lasting solution under Republican leadership in the House and Senate.”Funding for the PILT program is contained in this year’s government funding agreement. Combined with funding in the National Defense Authorization Act passed by the House last week, PILT will be fully funded this year at $442 million, a slight increase from last year. Although Oregon’s exact share is yet to be determined, last year Oregon counties received $17.6 million for essential local services.In September 2013, the U.S. House passed a historic forestry reform bill, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act (H.R. 1526), which included a section authored by Walden, DeFazio, and Schrader. The bill reforms federal forest policy to create jobs in the woods, improve forest health, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, and generate revenue for local communities to provide essential local services like schools and law enforcement. In September 2014, due to inaction in the Senate, the House passed this bill for a second time. While an alternative plan has been offered in the Senate, the full Senate has not had a chance to vote on either the House or Senate versions of the bill. Pinterest Twittercenter_img Email Google+ LinkedIn Facebook Share. By CBNlast_img read more

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