Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Steve Pearce discusses government control of land in the West at CPAC Colorado - video

CPAC Colorado, an American Conservative Union event to address issues and rally regional support for conservatives, was held on Thursday, and among other regional speakers, featured Representative Steve Pearce of New Mexico, chairman of the Western Caucus. His speech addressed the topic of government land control, an issue particularly important in the West, where the federal government alone owns between 30% and 85% of land in each state. His discussion addressed the history of public land, its effects on state economies, and other problems with such a high portion of government land control. “In each state, the public lands were given back to the states after they were chartered, but in the West, starting with Teddy Roosevelt, who had the idea of big forest and big national parks, they held that land.” He dismissed the idea that these lands were national parks or forests, citing the figure that only 15% are available for public access, and that the rest are owned by the bureau of land management, with excessive regulations which prevent them from being productive. Meanwhile, the government spends $347 (million) per year acquiring new lands, and even more managing them. By the end, this land costs the government billions more than it produces in revenue. Public ownership of land starves education. Much of public education is funded by state and local property taxes, so by reducing the amount of land available to be taxed reduces the amount which can be spent on education in states with rapidly rising populations and numbers of students. Western states pay more in taxes as a percentage of income than Eastern ones, but get less in return because so many of their resources and land are tied up. The Western Caucus has endorsed a plan called the Action Plan for Public Lands and Education, or APPLE Act, which would authorize western states to sell five percent of their federal owned land and use the revenue to fund education...more

Here's the video of his speech:


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