The county timber payments program once again has hope today as the Senate plans to vote to extend the program by four years as part of a comprehensive financial security measure. The House is schedule to take up the legislation tomorrow or Friday. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who has doggedly urged the House leadership to bring the Senate tax reduction and county payments reauthorization measure up for a house vote, released the following statement this morning before returning to the nation's capital:
"This legislation addresses some of the most serious issues our country and every part of Oregon has faced in many years. While I'm as upset as anyone that Wall Street greed got us into this mess, it's clear that if we don't act soon every American faces financial harm. The wrongdoings of others stand to take all taxpayers down and we cannot let that happen. The cost of inaction for the taxpayer is simply greater than the cost of action."
"Our Senators deserve praise for their successful efforts to get the county timber payments program renewed and funded in this legislation. The bill establishes strong taxpayer protections and is our best hope to bring stability to our credit markets. Moreover, this legislation continues the tax credits for development of renewable energy, which means real jobs all across Oregon. And it gives middle class taxpayers relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax.
"Most importantly for rural Oregon, this package delivers the four-year County Payments and Payments in Lieu of Taxes extension. This is the moment we've been working toward for several years: a real, long-term county payments bill that the President will sign into law renewing hope for our schools, libraries, and local law enforcement, while creating jobs in our rural towns. This is the last lifeline available to our communities."
In an op-ed published in The Oregonian yesterday, Oregon State Treasurer Randall Edwards (D) reacted to the Monday failure of the rescue package in the House, and warned against the Congress again failing to pass bill so it can be signed into law:
"This package would have insulated Main Street from the meltdown on Wall Street. It would have also paid back taxpayers and reformed how business is done on Wall Street. Failure to pass the rescue plan is a great disappointment for Oregon, and Monday brought the single-greatest point drop in the Dow Jones industrials index. Without a bill, the ability for Oregonians to be able to get credit for buying a home or a car, or for small businesses to get loans for operations, will dry up. What's more, stock market returns this year have already been tough on families. With the market dropping, their savings and nest eggs are shrinking even more and could take years to grow again."
Congressman Walden represents the people of Oregon's Second District, which is comprised of 20 counties in eastern, southern, and central Oregon. He is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.