Out of Control Policy Blog

Will people rise up to protect their property?

The Supreme Court's decision to support eminent domain to increase tax revenue leaves many people wondering what next? How do we prevent our land being taken and given to any yahoo with an idea to use it that will pay more taxes to local government?

(see posts here, here, here, here, and here)

I think there is going to be a concerted effort to get state and local governments to put in place restrictions on the use of eminent domain for purposes that are not clearly things like roads. There will likely be a push in Congress, too, but I doubt it wil get anywhere.

A Rocky Mountain News editorial shares my opinion:

If there's any bright side to this lamentable decision, it's that even the majority opinion specifically said states could enact tighter restrictions on when property can be condemned, as Colorado did in the 2004 legislative session. But once officials get dollar signs in their eyes, it's an uphill battle to regain rights the Supreme Court should never have taken away.

And this article on reactions to the Court's decision in Colorado closes with an opinion similar to mine.

Denver real estate attorney Howard Gelt said he thinks the Supreme Court made the correct decision. But he said the issue is far from over. "I think it will have a substantial effect on local communities and people going back to city council and legislators asking for more restrictions on condemnations," Gelt said.

Utah has already moved the right direction with legislation that limits the use of eminent domain for redevelopment.

Adrian Moore is Vice President, Policy


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