Study: Counties need aid to bridge timber gap

SALEM — A governor's task force says the funding crisis triggered by the loss of federal timber revenues goes far beyond rural counties, and will hurt every school in Oregon and other programs, as well.

The top recommendation handed over to Gov. Ted Kulongoski today was to get Congress to renew temporarily the long-standing program that has brought more than $200 million a year to Oregon so that the state and counties will have time to find new sources of revenue — including new taxes.

The governor says everyone now realizes that the federal timber payments will never be coming back as a permanent source of revenue, and serious steps have to be taken to keep some counties from going bankrupt.

Jackson County collected $23 million annually from the program.

— Wire and staff reports

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