Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Grijalva Blasts GOP Plan To Use Fuzzy Math To Justify Federal Land Sales

Posted By on Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 1:13 PM

While most of the focus on the Republican-controlled Congress' new set of rules focused on the gutting of the Office of Congressional Ethics, there was another provision that could lead to the fleecing of taxpayers: A new way to value federal land if its sold off to states or local governments that would hide how the sale increases the deficit.

Basically, to hide the true cost of selling off federal land, the Congressional Budget Office has been instructed to no longer consider the revenues that the federal land brings in via leases, recreational fees

The Hill has details:

House Republicans are endorsing a procedural change to make it easier for Congress to transfer federal land to state or local government agencies.

The provision in the package of House rules due for a vote Tuesday would prohibit the Congressional Budget Office from taking into account lost federal revenue from energy production, logging, recreation or other uses when it decides whether a piece of legislation is revenue-neutral or would contribute to the federal deficit.
Southern Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ03) blasted the plan in a statement to the press:

“The House Republican plan to give away America’s public lands for free is outrageous and absurd,” Grijalva said. “This proposed rule change would make it easier to implement this plan by allowing the Congress to give away every single piece of property we own, for free, and pretend we have lost nothing of any value. Not only is this fiscally irresponsible, but it is also a flagrant attack on places and resources valued and beloved by the American people.”

Grijalva added that state and local governments often don't have the financial resources to purchase the land, so vast tracts would likely be snatched up by private developers.

“The proposal is one more example of the Trump Republican’s plans to use federal resources to enrich wealthy developers by making it easier for them to get their hands on invaluable federal lands currently owned by, and open to, all Americans,” Grijalva said.

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