Today in Oregon, voters are deciding whether to raise their own taxes to make up for lost timber payments from the federal government. Hundreds of counties in Western states are facing a financial crisis due to the loss of timber payments. Property taxes usually pay for county services such as law enforcement. But counties in states from Colorado to California have vast national forests and can't collect taxes on that land. So Congress created timber payments to compensate them. Now the bill authorizing those payments has expired. Oregon received the largest payments, and more than half its counties face a budget and safety crisis now. Amelia Templeton of Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that in Josephine County, the sheriff has laid of 80 percent of his deputies and no longer arrests people.
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