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Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) spoke about the continuous need for Secure Rural Schools (SRS) and Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funding at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. Risch was joined by Valley County Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank, who was a witness at today’s hearing. Risch and Cruickshank stressed how vital these payments are to Idaho’s rural budgets.
Senator Risch said: “This is a really serious problem. These counties need help right now. We need to pass an agreement to fund SRS and PILT and it needs to be done immediately. This is a bipartisan issue and should be done on a bipartisan basis.”
“In 2015, Valley County received $1.8 million from the U.S. Forest Service under SRS,” Commissioner Cruickshank said in his opening remarks. “This year, we are due for $114,662 in 1908 Act payments, a mere 6 percent of what we received in FY2015. Statewide, Idaho is taking a 90.6 percent cut. … We are counting on you to make the necessary changes to protect both our landscapes and budgets. County leaders stand ready to assist.” To read Cruickshank’s full opening statement, click here.