Press Release

Bishop Addresses Need for Paradigm Shift in Management of Federal Estate

Public Education in Western Public Lands States at Unfair Disadvantage

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Washington, February 16, 2012 | | comments

Today during the House Natural Resources Committee hearing to review and consider legislation that would address revenue shortfalls in public lands states and restrictions placed on access to water in California’s Central Valley, Congressman Bishop spoke about the impact that federal lands have on communities, and especially public education. Specifically, the committee markup considered the following two bills:

1)    H.R. 4019: Press Release - Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) legislation introduced to create jobs, support rural counties and restore active forest management

2)    H.R. 1837: Press Release - Legislation to end California’s man-made drought and restore water supplies and jobs

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Excerpts of Bishop’s remarks:

“The fact that we have the programs of PILT and SRS is a monument to the paternalist policies of the federal govt.  The bottom line is that these programs simply have failed.  Our forests are not healthier under these programs. Our communities are not healthier under these programs.”

“The concept that the federal government is a better steward of the land than states or local governments would be has three decades of evidence on why that is a failed concept.  The Clinton Administration, the Obama Administration and even the Bush Administration have failed our local communities in many of their efforts.  There has been no progress in a collaborative approach.  What we desperately need in the West is simply a paradigm shift.

“I understand what they’re talking about as far as rural interests for students/kids. I taught public school for 28 years…

“Those of us that live in public lands states, the 12 western states that are public lands states with BLM land… the rest of you just don’t have it, our problem is that we cannot generate the revenue to fund our education system.  Those 12 states have the slowest growth in education funding of any place in the nation. Those 12 western states have increased their education funding by 35% over the last couple of decades while those in the East, even in such states as Florida, have been able to increase it by 68%.  Good grief, it’s at twice the value, it’s twice as easy for those of us who don’t have the fun and enjoyment of the BLM within our areas to be able to fund our education. 

“Those of us trying to fund education in western states can’t do it because of the paternalistic heavy hand of the federal government that stops us at every level.  That is why we have to have a paradigm shift.  If we do not do a paradigm shift now, if we do not try and have some way of having the land being able to fund the needs of our communities, it will eventually be lost.  And it will be lost as we go forward in this nation with an even harder time balancing our budgets and people in the East will finally say, why are we giving welfare to the West?  That’s why they call it…welfare to the West.  This is the time to make some movements.”


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