In 2012, Utah passed the Transfer of Public Lands Act, a law that essentially demanded that the federal government surrender the two-thirds of state territory it controls. Other western states, including Arizona, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Idaho, are now considering similar measures. Now Utah has gone a step further: planning for a future that isn’t funded by federal largesse.
“You’re not going to close a revenue gap in the billions of dollars by tweaking the tax code with minor adjustments,” state Rep. Ken Ivory (R-West Jordan), who has played a key role in the push for greater autonomy, told the Reason Foundation late last year. But “there’s $150 trillion in mineral value locked up in the federally controlled lands throughout the West.”