Government’s Rapacious Appetite for Land

Land ownership means power and if there is one thing that we know, government officials love to accumulate power. Let us count the ways:

Syndicated writer Paul Jacob notes in this article that legislation has been introduced in Congress HR 2617 to create a National Park at the site of the Apollo landing site. Never mind that the United States doesn’t own the moon or that it is uninhabited (and possibly uninhabitable), Washington needs to control a portion of the moon.

Of course, Washington owns plenty of land here at home. Here is a map showing the exact holdings and this map shows the percentage by state. President Obama recently increased federal control over lands in New Mexico with the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument designation while some advocates for increased federal land ownership intensity wish to completely surround Las Cruces with yet another national monument.

Lastly, there is Bernalillo County which already owns dozens of properties throughout the County and is the largest single property owner in downtown Albuquerque (including a building that houses a Verizon call center!). Now, the County has engaged in initial discussions to purchase the massive Alvarado Square building (formerly occupied by PNM).

The same rule should apply from the federal government on down: any new property acquisition must be offset by sale of land/property of similar value. Whether the issue is simple mismanagement or the fact that government lands are not taxed and therefore get taken off the tax rolls (thus burdening the rest of us with higher taxes), governments at all levels own more than enough land/property.

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