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Reason Foundation

Most States Donít Know How Much Land or Property They Own

Study details how states can figure out what they own and save taxpayers millions or even billions in the process

June 29, 2010

How can you manage public funds wisely when you don't even know what you own? A new Reason Foundation study finds most states do not have complete inventory lists of their land and assets.

"What do your own? It's a very basic question that far too many states cannot answer," said Anthony Randazzo, co-author of the new Reason Foundation report that outlines how states can figure out what they own and what those assets are worth. "There is a real opportunity here to indentify waste and reduce unnecessary spending. States need to identify what the government owns, determine whether government or private ownership is the most effective use of that property and then reduce costs by selling or leasing under-used and unneeded property,"

The Reason Foundation study makes 12 recommendations to help state and local governments develop inventory systems that can save taxpayers money:

  1. Build a real property inventory.
  2. Start by evaluating any existing inventories.
  3. Use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to map and catalog real property data.
  4. Centralize and streamline the management of all state or local property.
  5. Standardize reporting methods for all government agencies and divisions.
  6. Put the inventory online for public access.
  7. Use the inventory to make informed decisions and manage the properties.
  8. Keep the inventory up to date online.
  9. Divest unneeded land and assets to save taxpayer money.
  10. Utilize the wide range of private sector expertise available to manage the assets.
  11. Align the assets and inventory with defined policy goals.
  12. Look for efficiency gains.

Full Report Online

Knowing What State and Local Governments Own is online here.

About Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation is a nonprofit think tank dedicated to advancing free minds and free markets. Reason Foundation produces respected public policy research on a variety of issues and publishes the critically-acclaimed monthly magazine, Reason, and its website www.reason.com. For more information, please visit www.reason.org.

Contact

Chris Mitchell, Director of Communications, Reason Foundation, (310) 367-6109



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