Monday, February 2, 2015
Agricluture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that more than $50 million will be paid to 41 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to support local schools and roads under the Twenty-Five Percent Fund Act of 1908. The 1908 Act requiring 25-percent payments is permanent law and will guide 2014 of payments, at the sucure rural schools and Community Self-Determination Act authority expired on September 30, 2014.
The Administration supported a 5-year reauthorization of the program to transition payments to countries in the fiscal year 2015 President’s budget. However it has not been reauthorized and in the absence of SRS, payments to the states from receipts from national forests located in each state are required to calculate the 25-percent payments for the benefit of public schools and public roads. Unlike SRS, these payments do not allow states an election to allocate funds for work similar to Title II (conservation work on national forests) or Title III (county projects for Firewise programs, emergency services or community wildfire protection plans) authorized in the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.
This year, the estimated total amount of all 25-percent payments to all eligible states is about $50 million, compared to around $300 million available for the entire SRS program last year.