Kilmer Asks that Secure Rural School Funding Not Be Cut
Representative Derek Kilmer sent a letter in support of rural communities impacted by sequestration. The letter, led by Kilmer and signed by 18 other Members of Congress, raises concerns about cuts to vital resources that help rural communities and schools.
Many communities rely on funds known as “Secure Rural School” payments to fund education, roads, and wildfire mitigation projects. In January, USDA announced over $20 million in funding would be coming to Washington State and $323 million nationwide.
The Forest Service has now requested that 42 states including Washington retroactively refund $17.5 million in payments. The agency claims that these payments are subject to the mandatory across-the-board cuts.
Representative Kilmer’s letter asks for a justification of this request and concern about the administration asking for a refund from payments that have already been made to local governments.
“We need to support our rural communities. I have serious concerns with this request for a refund – both from a legal perspective and because it’s just bad policy,” said Representative Derek Kilmer. “Folks in our region who rely on these payments for rural schools, emergency services, infrastructure, and wildfire mitigation deserve a clear answer from their government about why they must return funds already allocated for important projects.”