Tester backs Montana’s rural communities with support for Secure Rural Schools and PILT

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after voting to extend Secure Rural Schools, a U.S. Forest Service initiative, and Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), an Interior Department initiative, which help rural communities fund education, first responders, road construction, and forest management:

“Rural America will only survive if we maintain quality schools and good infrastructure that can spur economic development.  Extending Secure Rural Schools and PILT is critical for rural economies, and I’ll make sure these successful initiatives get the support they deserve.”

Today’s bipartisan Senate vote extends both Secure Rural Schools and PILT for one year.  Tester and fellow Montana Senator Max Baucus also recently introduced a bipartisan plan supporting the initiatives for five years.  The measure was included in the highway bill, which is expected to pass the Senate on Tuesday. 

Secure Rural Schools and PILT help rural communities make up for tax revenue lost due to public lands.