Editorial: Nevada should control its land and not settle for paltry alms

Esmeralda County gets only 6 cents per acre in PILT money.

The silence is deafening.

Because so much of the West in general and Nevada in particular is controlled by the federal government and cannot be taxed, Congress four decades ago came up with a program called Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT). Each year about this time the U.S. government writes checks to counties to compensation for lost tax revenue.

A year ago Nevada’s Democratic Sen. Harry Reid issued a press release bragging about all the money Nevada was getting, pointing out that “Nevada’s PILT payments rose roughly $2.1 million from $23.3 million to $25.4 million.”

“PILT funding has a remarkable impact for Nevada counties,” said Reid a year ago. “Over 85 percent of the land in Nevada is owned by the federal government, making it essential that Nevada receive its fair share. These funds support rural communities across Nevada in funding high-quality education, law enforcement, and healthcare systems. I have worked hard to make sure that these crucial programs are fully-funded, and I am grateful that Congress was able to extend these provisions this year. I will work to ensure PILT is again funded for this upcoming fiscal year.”

This year no press release. Perhaps that’s because the Nevada checks this year amount to only $23.26 million, less than two years ago. Nationally PILT payouts are off by $32 million, down to $405 million from $437 million a year ago.

In a press release Interior Secretary Sally Jewell proclaimed, “PILT payments are critical for maintaining essential public services, such as firefighting and police protection, construction of public schools and roads, and search and rescue operations.”

The very next paragraph of the press release, without a hint of awareness of its miserly scope, reports that the “Interior Department collects about $14 billion in revenue annually from commercial activities on federal lands, such as oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing and timber harvesting,” and shares some royalties with the states.

So, the agency collects $14 billion from land that could well be held by the states, counties or private citizens and then magnanimously doles out less than 3 percent in PILT.

The state Legislature this year passed a bill urging Congress to turn over some of the federal land to the state.

A report from the Nevada Public Land Management Task Force noted that the BLM loses 91 cents an acre on land it controls, while the average income for the four states that have public trust land is $28.59 per acre. It also estimated the state could net $114 million by taking over just 4 million acres of BLM land, less than 10 percent. Taking over all 48 million acres could net the state more than $1.5 billion — nearly half the annual general fund budget.

Earlier this year Rep. Mark Amodei introduced H.R.1484 — Honor the Nevada Enabling Act of 1864 Act. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, where its co-sponsor, Rep. Cresent Hardy, sits. The bill calls for transferring federal land to the state in phases. The initial phase would authorize the state to select no less than 7.2 million acres of public land for conveyance to Nevada.

In addition to being paltry the PILT checks are high inequitable, varying wildly in payment per acre from state to state and county to county.

Remember, Reid said it was “essential that Nevada receive its fair share.”

While Nevada will get 41 cents per acre this year, California this year will rake in 96 cents per acre, Arizona gets $1.13, New Mexico fetches $1.54 and Utah’s share is $1.05.

The calculations also account for population, which probably explains why tiny Esmeralda County here in Nevada nets 6 cents an acre, while Lyon gets $2.20 per acre and Washoe $1.07. Other county payments will be: White Pine, 41 cents; Elko 40 cents; Eureka, 15 cents; Lincoln, 12 cents; Lander, 26 cents; Mineral, 33 cents.

Reid has had time to send out press releases praising the Supreme Court for upholding ObamaCare and overturning anti-gay marriage laws and praising Homeland Defense for not detaining illegal alien families, but not PILT.

We urge our congressional delegation to move forward with legislation to turn federal land over to Nevada so the state taxpayers can profit from it instead of settling for paltry handouts.

A version of this editorial appears this past week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

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27 comments on “Editorial: Nevada should control its land and not settle for paltry alms

  1. desertrat says:

    The ‘Federal Lands’ as they are described are a result of one of the conditions of Nevada being granted statehood back in ’64. Remember that nagging clause about all non-private lands becoming federal property?

  2. Steve says:

    “Remember that nagging clause about all non-private lands becoming federal property?”

    Remember those nagging words “which SHALL be sold”??? Not “may” “SHALL”

  3. Patrick says:

    “Which shall be sold” means nothing more than “which IS sold”. Not used in the “mandatory” sense of the word “shall” but rather the “if” sense.

    As it has been used since the days of English Common Law.

  4. Patrick says:

    But, the land does not now, and has never been “Nevada land” in the sense of any ownership, and as a citizen of the United States, neither do I want it to ever be.

  5. The “Western” states once successfully petitioned to get federal lands released to those states.

    https://4thst8.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/time-to-petition-washington-to-give-federal-public-land-to-the-states/

  6. Steve says:

    shall
    SHal,SHəl/Submit
    verb
    1.
    (in the first person) expressing the future tense.
    “this time next week I shall be in Scotland”
    2.
    expressing a strong assertion or intention.
    “they shall succeed”

  7. Patrick says:

    http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/196493/what-does-shall-be-mean

    “The key is that once upon a time, some folks decided that shall is epistemic in the first person but deontic in the second and third, while will is deontic in the first person but epistemic in the second and third.

    I shall[EPISTEMIC] drown, no one will[EPISTEMIC] save me.

    I will[DEONTIC] drown, no one shall[DEONTIC] save me.
    Under that interpretation, the first example, which is purely epistemic, might be the cry of a man fallen accidentally overboard and fearing for his life. He is describing likelihood of outcome. It is simply stating what is likely to happen. It is neutral of judgment in its forecast of the future.

    In contrast, the second example uses (or at least, is purported to use) modals in a purely deontic sense: it is a suicide’s letter of intent. It is making a strong judgment on the world to come, insisting that the world be changed to match that intended outcome. Volition is strongly involved.

    Recent research has concluded that this sort of distinction, in which the modality is determined according to whether the verb is in the first person or in other one, is one that most speakers do not follow, or at least, they do not do so naturally. It is a distinction that if it has ever existed at all in a descriptive rather than a prescriptive way is at most limited to a small set of native speakers from a particular region of the world and from a particular educational background.

    For most of the world, will is the epistemic modal in all persons, while shall is the deontic modal in all persons.”

    As (most) understand (and nearly all those familiar with legal interpretation) the use of the phrase “which shall be” merely means IF, and nothing more.

  8. Steve says:

    That’s a whole ton o’words to say if, is, but and why-how all mean whatever the FUCK we liberals SAY they FUCKING mean and FUCK you for insisting ANYTHING other than that!

    Whatever the FUCK the word “THAT” means in your lexicon.

    Fuck that!

  9. Patrick says:

    Blacks Law Dictionary

    “What is SHALL?
    As used in statutes and similar instruments, this word is generally imperative or mandatory; but it may be construed as merely permissive or directory, (as equivalent to “may,”) to carry out the legislative intention and In cases where no right or benefit to any one depends on its being taken in the imperative sense, and where no public or private right is impaired by its interpretation in the other sense. Also, as against the government, “shall” is to be construed as “may,” unless a contrary intention is manifest. See Wheeler v. Chicago, 24 111. 105, 76 Am. Dec. 736; People v. Chicago Sanitary Dist., 184 111. 597, 56 N. E. 9.”.:;: Madison v. Daley (C. C.) 58 Fed. 753; Cairo & F. R. Co. v. Ilecht, 95 U. S. 170, 24 L. Ed. 423. SHAM PLEA. See PLEA. SHARE 1082 SHERIFF

    Law Dictionary: What is SHALL? definition of SHALL (Black’s Law Dictionary) “

  10. Steve says:

    I LOVE it!

    You peeps are SO GOOD at this!

    You should be proud of the fact you have COMPLETELY changed any meaning of ANYTHING that EVER EXISTED!

    In light of this discovery, I gotta wonder, are we really “here” anymore?

  11. Steve says:

    “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If ‘is’ means ‘is and never has been’ that’s one thing – if it means ‘there is none’, that was a completely true statement,”

    HA! I knew it.

  12. “In cases where no right or benefit to any one depends on its being taken in the imperative sense” … bingo, sovereign right and economic benefit.

  13. Steve says:

    Only “if” “Imperative” “shall” mean what “imperative” means!

  14. Patrick says:

    “Also, as against the government, “shall” is to be construed as “may,” unless a contrary intention is manifest.”

    As in cases where a date by which the action is required to be completed is set out; “which shall be sold on or before January 1, 2016.”

  15. Steve says:

    HA!
    I get it now!

    Imperative “MAY” mean “imperative”!

    But it “SHALL” NOT mean “imperative” as long as THAT would be contrary to what liberal suckups want it to mean!

  16. nyp says:

    tell us how much you are willing to pay We the People of the United States for the property, and we will consider selling it to you.

  17. Steve says:

    Nyp is not “We The People of The United States”

    Nyp is just another spinmeister.

  18. A hearty amen to that one…

  19. And it appears as though even Bolshevik Bernie Sanders…Democrat candidate for President is calling BS on nyp’s posted Obama economic numbers…
    http://www.breitbart.com/video/2015/07/06/sanders-real-unemployment-is-actually-over-10/

  20. […] do not bother to mention that PILT money is a pittance compared to property taxes paid by private owners. Nor do they mention nor seem to […]

  21. […] the recent budget talks — the PILT payments are still less than was doled out in 2014, when the state got $25.4 million in PILT. With the added funds Nevada will get $25. 24 […]

  22. […] the recent budget talks — the PILT payments are still less than was doled out in 2014, when the state got $25.4 million in PILT. With the added funds Nevada will get a total of $25.24 million this […]

  23. daksh says:

    thanks for sharing

  24. […] report from the legislatively created Nevada Public Land Management Task Force noted a year ago that the […]

  25. Barbara says:

    Washington, regardless of which Party is in power, will never willingly return sovereignty to the States or to the people. Congress, the Presidency, and the Courts have become disconnected from the civil society. If the people are to regain their sovereignty, it will be through an Article V convention where amendments to the Constitution can be passed limiting the federal government’s usurpation of our rights as set forth in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    Even the late Justice Antonin Scalia supported an Article V convention:

    “The founders inserted this alternative method of obtaining constitutional amendments because they knew the Congress would be unwilling to give attention to many issues the people are concerned with, particularly those involving restrictions on the federal government’s own power. The founders foresaw that and they provided the convention as a remedy. If the only way to get that convention is to take this minimal risk, then it is a reasonable one.”

    “Part of the problem as I have noted is simply that the Congress has become professionalized; its members have a greater interest than ever before in remaining in office; and it is served by a bureaucracy and is much more subject to the power of individualized pressure groups than to the unorganized feelings of the majority of the citizens. This and other factors have created a real feeling of disenfranchisement that I think has a proper basis. The one remedy specifically provided for in the Constitution is the amendment process that bypasses the Congress. I would like to see that amendment process used just once. I do not much care what it is used for the first time, but using it once will exert an enormous influence on both the Congress and the Supreme Court. It will establish the parameters of what can be done and how, and after that the Congress and the Court will behave much better. …”

  26. […] A report from the Nevada Public Land Management Task Force, which was created by the Nevada Legislature, noted that the BLM loses 91 cents an acre on the land it controls, but in the four states that have public trust land revenues amounted to $28.59 per acre. The report estimated that Nevada could net $114 million by taking over just 4 million acres of the BLM’s 48 million acres. Taking over all 48 million acres could net the state more than $1.5 billion — nearly half the annual general fund budget. […]

  27. […] no heed to the fact that a report from the Nevada Public Land Management Task Force, which was created by the Nevada Legislature, […]

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