Taxpayers for Common Sense

Real Tax Reform

Real tax reform needs to be bipartisan and deficit neutral.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) within the Department of the Interior (DOI) manages more than 750 million acres of mineral estate in the U.S.

It administers oil and gas leases on federal lands, charges royalties and rent for them,

These lease terms and requirements are structured to promote oil and gas production, but they have not been revised in decades.

There is little to discourage companies from holding federal leases without developing the oil and gas resources on them. At the end of 2016, more than half of all federal acreage set aside for oil and gas leasing was tied up in non-producing leases, locking out other potential uses.

“As the owners of federal lands and resources, US taxpayers have the right to fair market compensation for all public natural resources, as would any private landowner.”

— Ryan Alexander, president of TCS

The current leasing system causes taxpayers to lose out when federal land is leased to speculators who don’t produce oil and gas. These speculative leases also prevent the land from being used by others.

More than a quarter of all non-producing leases issued in the last decade in six western states had one or more characteristics of “unreasonable speculation.” In total, more than 3,000 leases covering more than 3.1 million acres of federal land were found to be unreasonably speculative.

“In the face of a $19 trillion national debt, we hope Secretary Zinke institutes much needed reforms to the oil and gas leasing program to ensure taxpayers get a fair return on the resources we all own.”

— Ryan Alexander, president of TCS

What the report covers

More than a quarter of all non-producing leases issued in the last decade in six western states had one or more characteristics of “unreasonable speculation.” In total, more than 3,000 leases covering more than 3.1 million acres of federal land were found to be unreasonably speculative.

“In the face of a $19 trillion national debt, we hope Secretary Zinke institutes much needed reforms to the oil and gas leasing program to ensure taxpayers get a fair return on the resources we all own.”

— Ryan Alexander, president of TCS
Read the full report here

Our Accomplishments Since 1995

Taxpayers for Common Sense through more than 20 years of preventing wasteful spending.

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In 1995, our co-founders saw Taxpayers for Common Sense as a missing element in the policy landscape, as an organization that would speak fiscal truth to power, actually read the bills, and highlight wasteful programs that poorly spend our money, and shift long-term risk and liability to the taxpayer.

Some of our most important victories for taxpayers include…

The primary mission of Taxpayers for Common Sense is to cut wasteful government spending programs, subsidies, and tax breaks.

— Co-founder Ralph DeGennaro at a 1995 press conference, announcing the creation of Taxpayers.

Monkeys in Space (1996)

In 1996, Taxpayers sends a letter to NASA demanding an end to its $33.2 million program to launch Russian-owned monkeys into space.

Eventually, the program gets nixed.