Rural counties push for timber subsidy

About 700 rural counties, including Oregon counties, are seeking the renewal of federal timber payments.

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Lane County and 700 other rural counties are hoping for the renewal of federal timber payments, which are set to end in two years.

Lane County officials says they will have to make major service cuts without the funds, which make up for federal timber sales revenue that the counties used to receive. But the subsidy faces scrutiny from those who want to cut down on the federal debt.

Commissioners Bill Fleenor and Pete Sorenson are in Washington, D.C., seeking support for the renewal of timber payments that end in 2011-2012. The share to Oregon and Lane County has dropped during the current four-year cycle as Congress increased payments to other states and cut money in the program.

Statewide, Oregon’s take will drop 90 percent, from $253 million in 2008 to $22.7 million in 2012, said Eric Schmidt, of the Association of Oregon Counties. Lane County’s share will drop to $16 million in 2011-2012, down from $40 million annually.

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.

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