TCS - Economic Report on the Transfer of Public Lands

February 8, 2015
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George and Martha have 13 children in their family and when each child was ready to move out of the house they were given their own piece of the family property to build their home. Today all 13 of the children have moved out and have their own homes, but the three youngest in the family didn’t get the same deal as their older siblings.

When the 3 youngest siblings received their homes they were only given half of the lot and told that their parents would hold onto the rest of the lot until they had children of their own. When that time came and the children asked for the rest of their land the parents insisted that they help take care of the property that they said they would give to their children. The youngest siblings went along with the plan because their parents promised that they would be able to have input on future decisions.

As time went on it became harder and harder for the 3 youngest siblings to do anything in their own backyards without having to ask their parents for approval. In the meantime the older brothers and sisters had enjoyed great prosperity afforded to them from the ability to use their entire property. As such they were able to give their own children a better education and offer more opportunities for success.  

The youngest children in this family are by no means children they are in their 30’s yet every decision they tried to make had to come under the scrutiny of Mom and Dad.

Now nobody is perfect, but had the other 10 siblings really made such big mistakes that the last three children just couldn’t be trusted to create their own success?

Finally one day the 3 children sat down with their Mom, Dad and 10 Brothers and Sisters and said,” Look we appreciate that you helped us get a home Mom and Dad, but we know that we can make our own decisions within the boundaries of our home. In fact we think that it will prove to be beneficial not only to our own families but to the entire family if we can have control of our own affairs.”

What would you do if this was your family?
What might you do if this was your State?

This is a true story (to an extent), just with a slightly larger and more diverse family of 50 United States.
Western States are evaluating the significant difference between public lands within their boundaries and public lands in the Eastern States. The issue is more complex than our story about the family can convey but there is an impact to the states and counties that has led to a debate on the Transfer of Public Lands from management by the Federal Government to management by the States.
The debate on the Transfer of Public Lands has been a hot topic for the last couple of years (but it is not a new debate by any means). We will look at just one aspect of the conversation on the next County Seat Program.
One of the decisions that the Utah Legislature made in 2013 was to look at what the public lands actually cost the Federal Government to maintain, the Revenue Sources on that land, and whether the state could afford to take over management (HB142). Our panel discussion will look into some of the findings of the 780 page report that looks at the Economic Feasibility of Transferring Public Lands.
Guest Panel:
Tony Rampton, Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office
John Downen, University of Utah, Bureau of Economic and Business Research
Jan Elise Stranbro, University of Utah, Bureau of Economic and Business Research
Keven Stratton, Utah State House of Representatives, District 48
Tune in this Sunday at 8:30am on KTVX Channel 4 for some more insight on the issue. I would highly recommend you study the report because as you will see on the program, this is a complex issue.
Full Report:
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