Last week, Governor Rell announced that state agencies will begin to look for purchasers of state assets to generate cash to fill the hole in our budget. See a recent article about Seaside, one asset we're likely to liquidate.
It's reasonable to ask if this is the best time to be selling our inheritance. It's not as if the real estate market were hot right now! Don't they say buy low, sell high? We're doing just the opposite and with an $8.9 Billion deficit, $7 million here-or-there won't make a noticeable dent.
Still, I am less troubled that Governor Rell is considering selling our inherited state assets than I am that our assets are being sold without provisions saying their reuse must be in accordance with smart growth principles.
What will the state require of the entities that purchase our inheritance? The preservation of historic buildings? The sustainable use of natural resources? A lively mix of housing, work and recreational uses? That housing units are affordable to people at a variety of income levels, including some for low-income people, and that residents and workers can get around with buses or trains, cycles and their own feet, not just their cars?
Including provisions like these would guarantee that sales meet our short term need for cash and continue to generate a return over the long run. Otherwise, our legacy may be that we'll be paying for generations for this small infusion of cash to help close a two-year budget!