Press Releases

Simpson Urges Funding for Rural Schools

Washington, September 24, 2008
Tags: Education

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today urged House negotiators on the tax extenders legislation to include a four-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act in any final bill. Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig have secured inclusion of the reauthorization in the Senate version of the bill.

Simpson’s letter stressed the importance of this funding to rural schools and communities. "As you may know, the decline in timber harvesting in the Pacific Northwest over the past two decades has created an enormous hardship on rural schools that relied upon revenue sharing to fund education. These schools are located in areas where the federal government owns the vast majority of the land. Therefore, there is very little tax base upon which to draw from for even the most basic services like roads, search and rescue, and education," wrote Simpson.

Simpson continued, "It is important to understand that these funds are not handouts. Far from it, these funds are critical to the basic education of thousands of Idaho students. In fact, fully one-third of the budget for some Idaho schools comes from this program. They simply cannot absorb the loss of this program."

In conclusion, Simpson praised Senate action and urged the House to accept the Senate language in any final bill. "The United States Senate has done the right thing through standing by these rural communities and extending this important program. I urge you in the strongest possible terms to agree to the inclusion of the Senate language in the final version of the tax extenders legislation," wrote Simpson.

Simpson’s letter was address to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Ranking Member Jim McCrery (R-LA).

A complete copy of Simpson’s letter is available upon request.