Bipartisan bill eases administrative burdens, provides financial incentives and increases transparency
WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 23, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, Congressmen Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill) reintroduced H.R. 328, the Excess Building and Property Disposal Act that cuts wasteful spending on excess federal property which costs taxpayers $1.67 billion annually. The bill passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support in the 112th Congress.
“With the national debt rising to over $16 trillion, the government can no longer foot the bill for vacant buildings and unneeded or underutilized properties. Government property that serves no public good should be immediately returned to private ownership,” said Chaffetz. “We were able to pass identical legislation through the House in the 112th Congress with unanimous bipartisan support. In the 113th, I hope we can turn this commonsense legislation into law.”
“This bill will cut millions of tax dollars wasted each year maintaining unnecessary properties, and ensure taxpayers are no longer flying blind when it comes to the value of real property the government owns and administers,” said Quigley. “The House passed this bill last year with strong bipartisan support, and similar measures are under consideration in the Senate, so there is no reason for Congress to delay in passing these commonsense and responsible reforms.”
The federal government is the largest single holder of real property in the United States with more than 900,000 buildings and structures.
According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), in 2010 the federal government held 77,700 buildings identified as either not utilized or underutilized and spent $1.67 billion dollars operating and maintaining them.
The federal government has accumulated excess properties because of current administrative hurdles in the disposal process. In 2003 and 2011, GAO designated federal real property management as a high-risk area to the federal government.
H.R. 328 creates a five-year pilot program that expedites the disposal of the most profitable properties, by removing red tape and increasing transparency through creating an online database for all property owned by the federal government. Additionally, the bill would permanently modernize the existing disposal process by reducing administrative overhead, creating new agency incentives, and requiring greater accountability from federal agencies.