Allard visits with Craig residents

Senator says Bush economic plan good for small business

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U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., said Thursday that President Bush's economic package would benefit small communities such as Craig in that it will benefit small business owners, including farmers and ranchers.

Allard met with Northwest Colorado residents at Craig City Hall Thursday.

"We had a good town meeting," Allard said in the parking lot after the event.

He said a variety of issues were discussed including Bush's economic plan and what impacts it will have, and social security, public land issues and prescription drugs.

"Some thought the tax cuts were good," he said of those at the meeting. "While some were more concerned with the deficit.

"I think it will have a positive impact on small businesses, farmers and ranchers."

Allard's stop in Craig Thursday was part of an annual effort to visit every county in the state of Colorado.

Material was available Thursday outlining recent legislation introduced by Allard.

Allard introduced a bill addressing chronic wasting disease May 9.

"The goal of this new legislation is to put in place a coordinated effort to battle chronic wasting disease, and to emphasize the importance of its eradication," Allard said. "This unified approach will ensure the USDA and the (Department of the) Interior have the resources necessary to assist Colorado and other states currently battling CWD."

The legislation proposes to:

  • Create a national CWD repository that contains surveillance and monitoring data for both captive and wild deer and elk.
  • Expand research into the development of live tests and field diagnostic testing.
  • Authorize $10 million in grants for wildlife management and log-term management strategies for CWD and to expand diagnostic and testing capabilities.
  • Require a report to Congress in 180 days by both the USDA and the Interior on their efforts.

Allard also recently cosponsored a bill to prevent the continued consolidation of the nation's media ownership.

"Media diversity and competition have declined while large media corporations continue to consolidate print and broadcast media ownership," Allard said. "This bipartisan legislation would head off the Federal Communications Commission from approving further consolidation of big media ownership."

Allard also has concerns about the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.

Allard recently sent a letter to the subcommittee chairman of the Department of the Interior seeking to increase that funding by $245 million.

PILT are federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property taxes because of nontaxable federal lands within their boundaries. Moffat County has about 1.6 million acres of federal land within its boundaries.

Allard said he thinks counties need to be fully funded for that land.

"I have written this letter to the Interior Appropriations chairman to strongly urge the committee's support of increasing PILT funding," he said. "Even in these tough budget times, I believe that this increase is a vital part to keeping these communities funded to meet the increasing demands for essential services."

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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