High Court Highwaymen
It’s like a bad dream, or a summer disaster movie. But this is real. We live under a regime that can and often does grab our homes and small businesses to create what politicians call “economic development.” The process is simple: the government takes our property, pays us what it thinks the property’s worth, and then hands our property — in finely crafted “sweetheart deals” — to developers and big corporations that will produce greater tax revenue.
The big government majority on the U.S. Supreme Court — Stevens, Breyer, Souter, Ginsberg and Kennedy — just gave eminent domain abuse the thumbs up in the case of Kelo v. New London. The politicians of New London, Connecticut, sought to take Ms. Susette Kelo’s home, along with many others, to facilitate the building of a private retail and residential complex that would house a big research facility for Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company.
But what is the implication of the Kelo ruling? What message does it send to the financial wizards running local governments nationwide, slickers who have flocked to such schemes, sacrificing small businesses and the homes of poor and middle-class citizens for more tax revenue?
This is not an isolated case in one small Connecticut town. This is happening all across the nation. Local officials looking to boost their tax take through eminent domain like a vampire looks for fresh neck arteries.
Today, no homeowner in America is safe, because homes don’t pay as much in taxes as businesses do.
But citizens are fighting back. They used the voter initiative process in Lakewood, Ohio, and passed a new law in Utah. This decision will not stand.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.