A couple of weeks ago I sent an email to Sen. Rockefeller and also to Congresswoman Capito. The email was an appeal to both to try and get the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRSCA), known to us as the forestry money, reauthorized.
Much of Randolph, Tucker, Pendleton and Pocahontas counties are owned by the United States government in the Monongahela National Forest. The U.S. is exempt from paying property taxes on these lands.
A lot of the funding for our school systems comes from land taxes. I pay taxes on my home and land. Businesses pay taxes on their land. Farmers pay taxes on their land. But the National Forest does not. Through the SRSCA, the counties are compensated for this. This has been going on since the original SRS Act of 1908. This seems fair to me. There are rural schools in the National Forests that use the funds for their schools.
Sen. Rockefeller emailed me back and said that he co-sponsored a bill in December 2011 to reauthorize the act and that he would work to get this act extended for another five years. This is a man who works for West Virginia.
Congresswoman Capito sent me a letter. In her letter, she wrote about appropriations and trimming the budget. Quoting from one paragraph: "During the recent budget debates we have made great strides towards decreasing spending while responsibly and fundamentally changing the way Washington works. This debate while often stressful and tiring, has been an opportunity to prove to the American people that its leaders have the ability to reverse the cycle of reckless spending that got the nation into this situation in the first place. This legislation eliminates wasteful programs ... ."
It sounds to me that Ms. Capito thinks that federal funding for our schools that compensates us for lost tax revenues is reckless and wasteful with no regard to our state. Sen. Rockefeller is concerned about education in our mountains. Shelley Moore Capito does not seem to care.