Sell 100,000 acres of State Trust Lands to balance the budget?
The Prescott Daily Courier reports that AZ Sec. of State Ken Bennett is calling for the State to sell 100,000 acres of trust lands at $100,000 per acre to raise enough money to balance the state budget. According to the paper, Bennett said it would raise the trust fund from $1 billion to $9 billion and generate $700 million per year in interest. [right, land management status. State trust lands in blue. Credit, AZ State Land Dept.]
My own calculations are that 100K acres at $100K per acre is $10 billion, but perhaps he's figuring in some other costs. Also, he seems to be assuming an annual return of 7.8% which is pretty good in the current economic climate.
What isn't addressed in the report is the fact that these are not state lands, but lands held in trust for the beneficiaries. By the constitution and the federal enabling act creating Arizona as a state, those lands are managed by the state for the sole benefit of the beneficiaries. The largest beneficiary are the school children of Arizona, so perhaps the funds going to them would offset state general funds that could be shifted elsewhere.
There is also the question of who is going to buy 100,000 acres at $100K each in the depressed real estate market.