McMorris Supports Secure Rural Schools Legislation
(Washington, D.C.) Congresswoman Cathy McMorris today announced her support for legislation (H.R. 17) that will help rural areas in Eastern Washington. McMorris co-sponsored the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Reauthorization Act of 2007, to reauthorize the county payment program for an additional seven years.
“The Secure Rural Schools program is essential for the livelihood of our rural communities in Eastern Washington,” said McMorris. “The Federal Government owns over 30% of our land in Washington state. Without revenue from timber receipts, along with the inability to tax federal land, these communities don’t have enough money to provide essential community services. I remain hopeful that we will be able to find funding for the reauthorization of this program.”
Prior to the Secure Rural School Program, counties that hosted federal land from which timber was cut, received a share from the federal government of the timber receipts. This money was used to fund schools, road improvements, fire stations, and police protection. Yet as federal timber sales declined, the funding received by the counties for community services also declined.
In 2000, The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act was passed that established a six-year payment formula for counties based on historic timber receipts. Since taking office, McMorris has supported the reauthorization of this crucial program and was a co-sponsor of this legislation during her first term.