Thursday, May 04, 2006

"Eminent domain bill passes state Senate"

See this article: Eminent domain bill passes state Senate
The Missouri Senate approved an eminent domain bill Tuesday that forces the government to pay homeowners the estimated price of their home on the open market, plus 25 percent.

Under House Bill 1944, private developers would be prohibited from initiating eminent domain proceedings and farmland would be prohibited from being declared as blighted.

The bill also includes re-establishment costs, capped at $10,000, for any business displaced by eminent domain. Relocation costs, up to $1,000, are available for homeowners and renters, under the bill.
I'm not impressed. "[P]rivate developers would be prohibited from initiating eminent domain proceedings", so instead they will get a friendly elected official to do it for them. And they will only have to pay 25% over the open market cost.

See also the following article: Eminent domain: Taking land may cost more.

No, taking land via eminent domain, even with a 25% premium, will cost much less than trying to buy-out an organized community with lots of holdouts. I haven't seen the statistics, but I would guess that private use of eminent domain in Saint Louis County has exceeded the public use in the past decade.
Critics seized on what the bill doesn't do: It doesn't redefine "blight." Under current law, the definition uses vague factors such as inadequate street layout and unsanitary or unsafe conditions.

"That could mean a cracked sewer lid," said Sen. Tim Green, D-Spanish Lake. Green said he once toured a farm that was declared blighted because it had a gravel access road.

The U.S. Supreme Court ignited a public outcry last year when it upheld the right of cities to condemn homes and businesses that are not blighted and use the land for private development.
Despite what Gordon Gekko said, greed is not good, for it can destroy the soul. This is a combination of private and public greed, with private interests getting a sweetheart deal on real estate via the threat of government force, and public interests getting more tax revenue by clearing out "undesirables" (who by the way, have to live somewhere: maybe they will move into your backyard!)

You may not be concerned because so far only "bad" neighborhoods have been cleared out, but don't come crying to me when your house is bought out against your will!

Unlike the old days of urban renewal, at least they are now being honest...they are in it for the money.

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