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Citing the stress on many rural county budgets, Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch joined 78 of their colleagues in sending a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) calling on it to provide funding for the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program in the President’s upcoming budget request that will be submitted to Congress.

SRS payments are vital to many rural budgets as these payments often pay for school programs and personnel like nurses, and for other education services. These payments are made instead of taxes on lands that are tax-exempt but managed by the federal government.

“Idaho’s counties are doing the best they can to manage funding for local schools, roads, bridges, forest management projects and public safety priorities,” said Crapo. “Secure Rural School payments are critical to ensure that counties across Idaho and the nation are paid for the tax-exempt, federally-managed lands within the state.”

“Until we see a significant increase in active forest management on our national forests, the federal government must uphold its commitment to support our rural counties and schools who rely on the SRS program,” said Senator Risch.