Two recent opinion pieces published by media outlets in Inyo County and San Benito County, with the assistance of the National Association of Counties (NACo) and RCRC, continue to raise public awareness of the need for permanent funding of the federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program and the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program to help counties continue to deliver critical services to residents.
The pieces by Supervisor Matt Kingsley of Inyo County (available here) and by Supervisor Chris Lopez of Monterey County and Supervisor Anthony Botelho of San Benito County (available here) focus on why funding is so critical for the survival and economic recovery of rural counties. Like earlier pieces by their fellow RCRC Board Members Supervisor Rex Bohn of Humboldt County, Supervisor Les Baugh of Shasta County, and Supervisor Sherri Brennan of Tuolumne County, the primary message of each opinion piece is to urge Congress to enact two separate pieces of legislation to permanently fund PILT and provide long-term security of the SRS program.
There is already bi-partisan legislation designed to provide funding for PILT and SRS. In the U.S. House of Representatives, the Permanently Authorizing PILT Act (H.R. 3043) would make PILT a permanent, fully funded program moving forward. In the Senate, the Forest Management for Rural Stability Act (S. 1643) would create a permanent endowment to support SRS with permanent payments made directly to forested counties.