Summary: This Negative brief argues that there are other options in the Status Quo and that funding isn't that important.
Released: Filed Under: NFHS Policy
About "Secure Rural Schools (NEG)"
National forests, being federally owned, do not pay local property taxes to the states or counties in which they are located. In 1908, Congress realized that this reduction in the tax base was harming local schools (and other local functions that rely on the property tax base), so they passed a law allocating some of the timber harvesting revenues in national forests to be sent back to the States to support school budgets in counties that would otherwise be deprived. But forest revenues went down dramatically in the 1980s, leading back to the same problems of 1908, with forest counties deprived of revenue. So in 2000, Congress modified the policy with new funding known as “Secure Rural Schools,” to provide extra money to make up for the lost timber revenues. SRS expired in 2017 and Congress has not renewed it, meaning rural county schools in areas near national forests are taking a substantial funding hit. AFF plan provides guaranteed funding for Secure Rural Schools.
This Negative brief argues that there are other options in the Status Quo and that funding isn’t that important anyway. SRS actively blocks solutions to lagging forest region economies by keeping them on the federal dole, and counties don’t use the money to get long-term solutions they just spend it or waste it. And the existence of the free money allows Congress to postpone reforming its burdensome forest management policies that are causing the problems in the first place. Plus, SRS is extra-topical, since its scope goes into lots of things that don’t involve schools (like roads and forest conservation). Most SRS money isn’t even spent on schools.
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