Washington, D.C.–U.S. Senator Mike Crapo’s (R-Idaho) bipartisan bill to reauthorize the U.S. Forest Service’s Secure Rural Schools and Self-Determination Program (SRS) through 2026 has passed out of the Senate
“Alleviating uncertainty for rural county governments in the future is the ultimate goal. I applaud the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for making this first, important step in extending SRS payments through 2026,” said Crapo. “Idaho’s rural counties rely on these continued payments to ensure funding for schools, road maintenance, public safety, search and rescue operations as well as mental and physical health services.”
“I am pleased to see such a strong vote for our rural counties. We need to work to increase forest management and bring back historic timber revenue, but, in the meantime, we have an obligation to these communities,” said Risch. “This committee vote is an important step, and Congress must continue to move to reauthorize SRS.”
U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D-Colorado), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington) and Val Hoyle (D-Oregon) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
SRS was enacted in 2000 to financially assist counties with public, tax-exempt forestlands. The U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management administer the funds. The totals are based on a formula including economic activity, timber harvest levels and other considerations that vary from county to county. SRS payments are critical to maintain education programs for many rural counties that contain federal lands exempt from property taxes.