Rob Bishop Comments on Defense Spending and PILT Funding
Today in Washington, President Bush sent to the Congress his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2009. While it is historic in its size, and there could be much to comment on, Republican Congressman Rob Bishop issued the following statement touching so far on only two portions of the proposed budget – portions which would have a direct impact in the Beehive State. Those statements are below.
Defense Spending and Air Force Funding
"I support the proposed increase in funding for our troops and our national defense. And the 7% or so increase I've seen proposed for the Air Force is particularly important to me, and to northern Utah."
"So much of our success in battle and our security here at home comes from having cutting edge technologies protecting us in the air. But I think in some ways we've taken our military superiority in the skies for granted, and it's time we sent more resources this direction. Our fleet has never been as old as it is right now, but thankfully the next generation of planes and weapons systems we need is coming on line and it looks like this budget would fully fund them – which is a good thing. This increased Air Force funding would come at the right time, to the right place, and for the right people who are doing so much to keep America strong and free. And the increase in pay for members of the military is more than deserved and something we absolutely have to get done."
Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program:
"When there is so much of our land locked up by the feds and off the tax rolls, our counties in Utah struggle to fund basic services for our citizens. That's not a fair position in which to keep them, and so these county payments are a small effort to right this huge wrong. But the Administration's initial proposal is way too low."
"Western members will continue to work, as we have in the past, to improve this amount and adequately fund this program. If we in the West can't get more control over our own lands and destiny, we at least need to be compensated more fully."
"Looking at PILT down the road, it's very clear that we need to start thinking outside the box for a long-term solution, which would include allowing states to create more opportunities for themselves with the lands within their own borders."