Last week, a coalition of 31 senators submitted a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) requesting a two-year reauthorization of Federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools (SRS) be attached to the final appropriations omnibus spending bill for Fiscal 2020. SRS funding expired at the end of Fiscal 2018, and Federal PILT is scheduled to expire at the end of Fiscal 2019.
Originally slated to end on September 30th, Fiscal 2019 was extended through November 21st by a continuing resolution to allow members more time to negotiate appropriations for Fiscal 2020.
Led by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the bipartisan coalition represented a broad range of western states that are dependent on funding through Federal PILT and SRS. Attaching a two-year reauthorization to Federal PILT and SRS to the final funding package for Fiscal 2020 is critical to ensure rural counties maintain their financial stability.
Congress will resume negotiations for Fiscal 2020 funding when members return from recess next week. Legislators from both the House and Senate are expected to continue their advocacy on behalf of Federal PILT, SRS, and other federally funded programs that are critical for local economies throughout rural America.