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ERODING TAX BASE CALLED RURAL THREAT

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Erosion of the local tax base because of federal regulators' actions was targeted as a serious economic problem facing rural governments in America during a recent seminar in St. George.

The County Government and Federal Lands Conference Seminar drew a crowd estimated by sponsors at about 200, representing county government, mining, livestock grazing, timber and other interests. The seminar was sponsored by a host of organizations and individuals, many from southern Utah."Common reasons for economic losses in the county are due to the transfer of private property ownership from taxpaying citizens to tax-exempt organizations and the loss of jobs dependent on the use of private and federal lands," said Karen Budd Falen, an attorney from Cheyenne, Wyo., who specializes in federal land issues.

She said federal agencies are required by law to consider the local community's social and economic needs when carrying out land-use planning.

Others at the conference criticized the National Park Service for "constantly encroaching on its neighbors" and outlined ways that people can exercise control through their local governments.