LANSING-According to the Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS) the Michigan Department of Natural Resources does not have enough money to pay property taxes to local governments this summer on the property it owns. MIRS quoted one state Senator, Leon Stille, (R-Spring Lake) as saying "Do we own too much property?" If we can't keep up with the taxes maybe we should sell some of the land rather than sit on it."
Three-years ago Michigan Privatization Report (MPR) recommended doing just that. In his article "Land Ho! Should Government Be Landlord?" Peter Leeson totaled state-owned recreational lands, and those lands obtained by the state through tax reversion, purchase, and gifts. The value of the land acquired by the state between 1992 and 1997 alone was $1.3 billion.
It is refreshing to see state lawmakers echo MPR ideas. It's just too bad that state agencies aren't taking the lead by implementing these ideas before their financial backs are against a wall.