November 20, 2019

Energy Committee to Consider Crapo, Wyden, Risch Secure Rural Schools Legislation

Crapo supports renewed, ongoing payments for rural counties containing federally-managed lands

Washington, D.C. -- The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing Thursday, November 21, 2019, to discuss legislation that provides federal payments to local governments through the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) programs.  The Committee will consider several pieces of legislation related to rural county payments, including U.S. Senator Mike Crapo’s (R-Idaho) legislation, S. 430, and U.S. Senator Ron Wyden’s (D-Oregon) legislation, S. 1643, of which Crapo has been a longtime supporter and co-sponsor.  Crapo will provide written testimony in support of both pieces of legislation at Thursday’s hearing. 

S. 430, introduced on February 11, 2019, would reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, which expired September 30, 2018.  The Forest Management for Rural Stability Act (S. 1643), introduced by Senators Wyden, Crapo, Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) in May 2019, would establish a growing endowment to provide funding needed for schools, road maintenance, law enforcement and other essential services.  It would end the need for short-term or retroactive reauthorizations of the SRS program. 

“Idaho has a high percentage of federally-managed lands, which amounts to 63 percent,” Crapo noted.  “These lands provide no property taxes.  Counties face the prospect of underfunded schools, roads going into disrepair and the loss of a large portion of their annual budgets if nothing happens.  We need certainty.  We need to renew these programs and consider a long-term endowment to provide security for Idahoans and rural America.  With strong bipartisan support already for these bills, I hope the Committee will offer its approval.”