Out of Control Policy Blog

Obama Admin. Proposes Federal Asset Divestiture

Reuters reports that the Obama administration is proposing the creation of a civilian property realignment board responsible for overseeing divestiture of federal assets. According to Reuters, the board would be responsible for expediting “the sale of thousands of unneeded federal properties at home and abroad… [Specifically targeting] 14,000 properties already identified as excess to requirements... [And] 55,000 properties that have been identified as under-utilized.”

Reason Foundation explores the recent history of federal asset divestiture in the Annual Privatization Report 2010 section on Federal Government Privatization:

The fiscal challenges facing Washington are driving both parties to seek out new efficiencies to get spending under control, including initiatives for more effective management of federal property…

In total, [a 2010 Republican report entitled “Sitting on Our Assets: The Federal Government’s misuse of Taxpayer-Owned Assets” estimates that the government could achieve savings of up to $270 billion over ten years utilizing such strategies as selling unnecessary real estate assets, expanding the use of public-private partnerships for transportation infrastructure projects, streamlining the approval of transportation projects, renegotiating leases to take advantage of depressed market rates and reallocating and otherwise improving management of existing assets…

[However, current assessments come] from an incomplete database built from inconsistent data managed mainly by the agencies themselves, with each using its own inventory method rather than an accurate, centralized inventory…

As a June 2010 Reason Foundation report notes, real property management is not a Democrat or Republican issue. It is not an issue of spending priorities. Rather, it is a good governance issue and a fiscal responsibility issue…

See the rest of the story on federal asset divestiture, including discussion of steps taken by the Bush Administration in 2004, by downloading the full report here.

For more examples of innovative policy and government reform, check out the other sections of Reason Foundation’s Annual Privatization Report 2010.

Harris Kenny is Policy Analyst


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