State Land Management Can Strengthen Public Services

March 20, 2023

By devolving control of federally-owned land to the states, we can responsibly build meaningful sources of public revenue.

By George P. Bush and David Winter
Read the entire post at FREOPP

At its best, government-owned land can help us achieve important goals, such as protecting wildlife refuges and funding public priorities. Approximately 39 percent of the total land in the United States is owned by government entities, including 28 percent by the federal government. In many western states, the share of government ownership is much higher, and is a major source of controversy. For example, only 14 percent of the land in Nevada is in private hands; the federal government owns 84 percent, severely constraining Nevadans’ self-determination.

One solution may be to devolve control of public lands to the states. Texas’ success in managing public lands could serve as a national model.

Through prudent management of lands with minimal oversight, Texas has consistently generates larger revenues from smaller acreage, when compared to other states’ and federal lands, all while utilizing fewer personnel. The federal government continues to underperform in terms of revenue, due to overregulation and relying on a much larger workforce.