Yeti

Large land purchase from BLM gives Hunters and Outdoor Enthusiasts more room to roam

WyoDoug

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Apr 8, 2019
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Cheyenne, Wyoming
What yall think about this? North Platte is prime fishing area to those who aint tried it and we aint talking no minnow size either.

 

BrentD

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In the middle
The first sentence of the article (and the thread subject) drive me slightly nuts. It was not a land purchase from the BLM, it was a land purchase BY the BLM. The article author needs to be sent back to grad school English classes.

I'm not exactly a maestro when it comes to writing but damn, that one sure was self-contradictory.

Okay, I feel better now.... :)
 

BoulderBulls

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Longmont Colorado
The first sentence of the article (and the thread subject) drive me slightly nuts. It was not a land purchase from the BLM, it was a land purchase BY the BLM. The article author needs to be sent back to grad school English classes.

I'm not exactly a maestro when it comes to writing but damn, that one sure was self-contradictory.

Okay, I feel better now.... :)
The third sentence drives me slightly nuts, I think the author ment to say "grade school" 😂
 

BuzzH

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Laramie, WY
Really? Gordon complaining about transparency is the absolute height of hypocrisy.

He vetoed a state lands bill that would have added transparency, longer notice, and more opportunity for Wyoming Citizens to comment regarding state land sales and exchanges. It was a good bill that Cyrus Western worked hard to get passed...Gordon veto's it saying there is already enough transparency and a great process (myself and others disagree, including his legislature).

You really can't make this kind of hypocrisy up if you tried.

I sure hope somebody runs to primary him, undoubtedly the worst Governor I've seen in Wyoming since I moved here 22 years ago.
 

ccc23454

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Wyoming
Really? Gordon complaining about transparency is the absolute height of hypocrisy.

He vetoed a state lands bill that would have added transparency, longer notice, and more opportunity for Wyoming Citizens to comment regarding state land sales and exchanges. It was a good bill that Cyrus Western worked hard to get passed...Gordon veto's it saying there is already enough transparency and a great process (myself and others disagree, including his legislature).

You really can't make this kind of hypocrisy up if you tried.

I sure hope somebody runs to primary him, undoubtedly the worst Governor I've seen in Wyoming since I moved here 22 years ago.

Buzz for gov?...has a nice ring to it
 
Last edited:

Big Fin

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Wyoming's gov is appealing the sale.....

This crap gets to be so annoying. And the smoke screens need to be cleared, something I will try to do with a few paragraphs that follow.

This publicity stunt by the Wyoming Governor is an example of why some amazing access efforts get killed. Ideologues at the state and local level press their personal agendas at the expense of locals, all hoping the public doesn't look deeper into the details of their BS claims.

Federal lands pay the equivalent of property taxes through two programs, PILT and SRS. The Feds also have state/local revenue share from royalties, grazing, timber, etc. The argument is that private lands pay more in property taxes than are paid to local governments under PILT/SRS/revenue share.

The claim that PILT/SRS takes property off the tax rolls makes a good soundbite, but in states where we have "agricultural property tax exemptions," almost all western states, large ranches enrolled under ag exemptions pay less per acre in property taxes than what the county gets under PILT/SRS. That myth of "lost tax value" is pretty much a losing argument in Montana, as access advocates have done a good job of showing how little property tax is collected on property for which an ag exemption is granted when compared to PILT/SRS/Revenue share. (note - I agree with granting ag exemptions for working landowners)

Almost all the western states have a property tax exemption for working ag lands. I just researched it and WY has both a lower assessed value for ag lands and lower applied tax rate to that lower assessed value. I suspect the local county would get more per acre if these lands are included in PILT payments from the BLM than if it is a working ranch being taxed under an ag exemption. But, to the Governor, that is likely not the story he wants to get out, as it defeats his claims that this is a loss to local tax rolls.

Another item is the revenue share with state and local governments for collections of Federal land revenues. Depending on the type of revenue (grazing, timber, oil & gas, surface leases, etc) there is an allocation back to the states of 35%+ that is shared with counties. The critics of Federal land purchases usually fail to recognize that revenue, also.

Point being, most of these claims are bullshit. Wyoming has 18 million acres of BLM lands. Last year Wyoming got $31 million in PILT payments, not counting revenue share payments from royalties, grazing, etc. That's $1.72 per acre from the BLM as a replacement of property taxes.

Wyoming counties get that $1.72 per acre payment even on the landlocked 2.3 million acres we can't access. Yeah, Uncle Sam (you) is paying almost $4 million to Wyoming counties for land that is inaccessible. Some suggest we should only pay PILT/SRS on accessible lands. I suspect that would get counties a bit more interested in making sure these public lands are accessible.

So, I'll walk through the revenue loss to the counties below.

This 35,000 acre purchase the Governor is opposing will provide $60,000 (35,000 acres x $1.72/acre) of PILT payments under last year's calculations. Plus, a revenue share of any other receipts receipts from those lands. Maybe that selling landowner was paying $60,000 to the county, but under the Wyoming formula for "ag production valuation," it would have to be really productive land to result in that amount of property taxes with an ag exemption in place.

And none of this takes into account the value to the local economy of having access to 75,000 additional acres (35,000 purchased and opening access to an additional 40,000 that is currently landlocked). I'm not smart enough to do that calculation, but suffice to say, enhanced public access is an economic contribution, especially when you have a highly valued fishery involved.

Sorry to nerd out on the tax and revenue details that dispel the myths of these claims. It's easy for ideologues to say, "It takes if off the tax rolls" and folks will nod their head in agreement. Yet, when you look at the details, it often results in an increase of revenue to the county or state. It just reclasses the revenue on the county financial statements from the category of "property tax revenue" to "governmental receipts." It's still cash to the county, often in higher amounts than is currently received from those lands.

In my six years on the Board of RMEF, there were multiple projects that would have been great access enhancements, but local or state elected officials promoting the "No Net Gain" doctrine opposed them "on the grounds of principle." They go so far as to tell their Congressional delegation to not fund those projects and to oppose any efforts by others to fund those projects, often with a personal conflict of interest. End result - a ton of work gets invested to put a deal together with a willing landowner and it all goes to waste because a state or local politician wants to fly the banner of "No Net Gain."

This opposition by the Wyoming Governor to this purchase is another example of that, but on the largest scale I've ever seen. I would bet if the covers are rolled back, he is carrying water for someone (a friend or donor) who currently benefits from the inaccessibility of these lands, along with the currently inaccessible 40,000 public acres that would become accessible with this purchase. And, he is pandering to those who promote his "No Net Gain" fallacy.

As a side note, if you want to lower the opposition of local and state officials to public land purchases, ask your Congressional delegation to increase PILT and SRS funding to the counties. If we doubled PILT and SRS payments to counties, it would be less than $800 Million, still a big number, but in comparison to Trillions spent by Uncle Sam, I suspect rural counties would do more good with that money than the other places it gets pissed away. The problem is that many in Congress have the same "No Net Gain" ideology and they purposefully cut funding to PILT/SRS, knowing it creates even more backlash against public lands, even if doing so hurts the local government budgets of those who elected them to Congress.

If any Wyoming folks are so inclined, I would suggest inundating your Governor's office, your County Commissioners, and your Congressional delegation with complaints. There are plenty of Congressional staffers who drop in on Hunt Talk and lurk, so I will likely get some calls or emails about this. Yet, there exists the reality that Congress gives a lot of deference to the delegation of a state where an action is located, so the power of a groundswell of opposition by Wyomingites is paramount to seeing it get completed.
 

BuzzH

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Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
14,245
Location
Laramie, WY
I'm so fed up with these Banana Republic politics and politicians in western states.

Gordon trying to smooth things over in his opening shot with sportsmen is a joke. He doesn't give a chit about sportsmen and access if he's willing to pull this nonsense.
 

Lyfter1013

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
482
This crap gets to be so annoying. And the smoke screens need to be cleared, something I will try to do with a few paragraphs that follow.

This publicity stunt by the Wyoming Governor is an example of why. Ideologues at the state and local level pressing their personal agendas as the expense of locals, all hoping the public doesn't look deeper into the details of their BS claims.

Federal lands pay the equivalent of property taxes through two programs, PILT and SRS. The Feds also have state/local revenue share from royalties, grazing, timber, etc. The argument is that private lands pay more in property taxes than are paid to local governments under PILT and SRS.

The claim that PILT/SRS takes property off the tax rolls makes a good soundbite, but in states where we have "agricultural property tax exemptions," almost all states, large ranches enrolled under ag exemptions pay less per acre in property taxes than what the county gets under PILT/SRS. That myth of "losing tax value" is pretty much a losing argument in Montana, as access advocates have done a good job of showing how little property tax is collected on property for which an ag exemption is granted when compared to PILT/SRS/Revenue share. (note - I agree with granting ag exemptions for working landowners)

Almost all the western states have a property tax exemption for working ag lands. I just researched it and WY has both a lower assessed value for ag lands and lower applied tax rate to that lower assessed value. I suspect the local county would get more per acre if these lands are included in PILT payments from the BLM than if it is a working ranch being taxed under an ag exemption. But, to the Governor, that is likely not the story he wants to get out, as it defeats his claims that this is a loss to local tax rolls.

Another item is the revenue share with state and local governments for collections of Federal land revenues. Depending on the type of revenue (grazing, timber, oil & gas, surface leases, etc) there is an allocation back to the states of 35%+ that is shared with counties. The critics of Federal land purchases usually fail to recognize that revenue, also.

Point being, most of these claims are bullshit. Wyoming has 18 million acres of BLM lands. Last year Wyoming got $31 million in PILT payments, not counting revenue share payments from royalties, grazing, etc. That's $1.72 per acre from the BLM as a replacement of property taxes.

Wyoming counties get that $1.72 per acre payment even on the landlocked 2.3 million acres we can't access. Yeah, Uncle Sam (you) is paying almost $4 million to Wyoming counties for land that is inaccessible. Some suggest we should only pay PILT/SRS on accessible lands. I suspect that would get counties a bit more interested in making sure these public lands are accessible.

So, I'll walk through the revenue loss to the counties below.

This 35,000 acre purchase the Governor is opposing will provide $60,000 (35,000 acres x $1.72/acre) of PILT payments under last year's calculations. Plus, a revenue share of any other receipts receipts from those lands. Maybe that selling landowner was paying $60,000 to the county, but under the Wyoming formulas for "ag production valuation," it would have to be really productive land to result in that amount of property taxes with an ag exemption in place.

And none of this takes into account the value to the local economy of having access to 75,000 additional acres (35,000 purchased and opening access to an additional 40,000 that is currently landlocked). I'm not smart enough to do that calculation, but suffice to say, enhanced public access is an economic contribution, especially when you have a highly valued fishery involved.

Sorry to nerd out on the tax and revenue details that dispel the myths of these claims. It's easy for ideologues to say, "It takes if off the tax rolls" and folks will nod their head in agreement. Yet, when you look at the details, it often results in an increase of revenue to the county or state. It just reclasses the revenue on the county financial statements from the category of "property tax revenue" to "governmental receipts." It's still cash to the county, often in higher amounts than is currently received from those lands.

In my six years on the Board of RMEF, there were multiple projects that would have been great access enhancements, but local or state elected officials promoting the "No Net Gain" doctrine opposed them "on the grounds of principle." They go so far as to tell their Congressional delegation to not fund those projects and to oppose any efforts by others to fund those projects, often with a personal conflict of interest. End result - a ton of work gets invested to put a deal together with a willing landowner and it all goes to waste because a state or local politician wants to fly the banner of "No Net Gain."

This opposition by the Wyoming Governor to this purchase is another example of that, but on the largest scale I've ever seen. I would bet if the covers are rolled back, he is carrying water for someone (a friend or donor) who currently benefits from the inaccessibility of these lands, along with the currently inaccessible 40,000 public acres that would become accessible with this purchase. And, he is pandering to those who also promote his "No Net Gain" fallacy.

As a side note, if you want to lower the opposition of local and state officials to public land purchases, ask your Congressional delegation to increase PILT and SRS fundingk to the counties. If we doubled PILT and SRS payments to counties, it would be less than $800 Million, still a big number, but in comparison to Trillions spent by Uncle Sam, I suspect rural counties would do more good with that money than the other places it gets pissed away. The problem is that many in Congress have the same "No Net Gain" ideology and they purposefully cut funding to PILT/SRS, knowing it creates even more backlash against public lands, even if doing so hurts the local government budgets of those who elected them to Congress.

If any Wyoming folks are so inclined, I would suggest inundating your Governor's office, your County Commissioners, and your Congressional delegation with complaints. There are plenty of Congressional staffers who drop in on Hunt Talk and lurk, so I will likely get some calls or emails about this. Yet, there exists the reality that Congress gives a lot of deference to the delegation of a state where an action is located, so the power of a groundswell of opposition by Wyomingites is paramount to seeing it get completed.
Thanks for taking the time to explain all that @Big Fin what if you got ahold of a local area newspaper and explained that to a journalist maybe they could get a piece out with some of that info so it goes out to the public discrediting his claims?
 
Yeti

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