Colorado may be forced to repay millions in federal funds due to national budget debate

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Colorado is among several Western states that may be forced to repay millions of dollars in federal funds as a result of the national budget debate.

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, a Republican from Colorado, says the Obama administration has advised the state that money from timber sales and mineral royalties are subject to the budget debate and the state could receive a bill for repayment of funds already distributed to counties.

According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, communities rely on those revenues for public schools, public -works repairs, emergency services and other programs.

The repayment would be part of what are known as "clawback" efforts by the U.S. Forest Service under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, according to the newspaper.

More than 30 representatives, including Tipton, signed a letter of protest to the Agriculture Department of Office of Management and Budget, the newspaper reports. Other representatives included both Democrats and Republicans from Arizona, Oregon and Utah.

“For the administration to announce three months after the disbursement of these payments that they are subject to the sequester and that the states will receive a bill for repayment of funds already distributed to counties, appears to be an obvious attempt by President Obama’s administration to make the sequester as painful as possible,” the letter said, according to the newspaper.

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