State and federal fiscal policies hurt rural communities by limiting how local governments can grow, diversify, and invest revenue.
States were granted trust lands by the U.S. Congress to generate revenue to fund public institutions, primarily public schools.
Overspending of state trust permanent funds reduces future school funding and incentivizes sales of trust land and nonrenewable resources.
Changing economies, new land uses, shifting social values, and political pressure create challenges for state trust land managers.
Advocates of transferring federal land to states point to the superior ability of state trust lands to generate revenue, but our analysis finds significant economic and fiscal disadvantages.