Oregon's financially beleaguered rural counties will suffer even more if the deep federal spending cuts known as "the sequester" are enacted. A program that provides money for counties with large tracts of federal land will be impacted.
Under what's called the O & C Act, western Oregon counties receive federal money in lieu of timber revenue. It pays for schools, public safety and other essential services.
Oregon Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio shared his thoughts on the looming sequestration when he spoke at the Oregon Logging Conference last week.
"The first cuts from this stupid sequestration thing are happening here in Oregon," DeFazio said. "The O & C Counties are having their revenues cut, they're already getting a pathetic amount of revenues. They already can't afford to provide crucial public services. They're going to be cut 10 percent."
The federal payments, known as Secure Rural Schools, have already been reduced over the years and will eventually phase out.
Lane County will take the biggest cut of all the O & C Counties. Officials say its share would be reduced by $500,000 if the sequester takes place. Their federal payment for 2012 was approximately $6 million.
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