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David Sparks Ph.d SRS Bill
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: June 13, 2019

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Due to environmental lawsuits and policy changes, logging in Idaho's backcountry is becoming rare and that’s dried up one of Idaho's biggest contributors to rural Idaho's tax base. Small towns are hurting, roads and bridges not getting fixed. Schools are barely getting by in Idaho, Oregon and many states in the West.

 

The federal government is the biggest landowner and they don't pay taxes. Senator Mike Crapo. Jim Risch and Ron Widen of Oregon have introduced legislation that will fund payments to small towns and counties to make up for the loss of timber revenues.

 

Mr. Crapo: “The federal government owes these counties an obligation to solve the fiscal problem.”

 

This is the second time around for the bill on Capitol Hill. But this version is gaining support because it creates a lasting endowment which thrills county commissioners like Wayne Butts of Custer County: “We have a case to start with on our budget. I’ll guarantee ya Custer County started on their budget sometime ago. And of course we won't know until the last minute probably again if we're going to get a check or not.

 

The senators are confident that they can get this bill across the finish line.

 

“This solution is going to help us stop the roller coaster and establish a stable source of funding to help our counties, to help our schools. All of the other important critical functions that our counties and our local governments engage in as well as our state government.”

The SRS bill has widespread support in small counties across the nation.The real battle will be on Capitol Hill.

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