Wyden And Crapo Look To Reauthorize County Payments

Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden and Idaho Republican counterpart Mike Crapo introduced a bill to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools program, which supports schools, law-enforcement and roads in more than 700 rural counties with federal forestland across the country.  The bill would extend the program for three years at 2011 funding levels, rolling back years of declining payments.  It would provide a total of roughly $360 million annually for more than 700 counties across the U.S.  It would also restore mandatory funding of the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program, which compensates counties that contain federal lands.  Wyden called county payments a lifeline for cash-strapped rural communities.

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