Sunday, November 8, 2009

Prop 11 passes overwhelmingly--analysis from Corridor Watch

Thanks to Linda and David Stall for all their work against the Corridor for many years and for their recent analysis of the passage of Prop 11. As they point out, Prop 11, with more protection against eminent domain, passed by the largest margin of any proposition on the ballot, with a four to one margin. Over 80 percent of the voters were for Prop 11.

Corridor Watch says:
"This vote provides Texas property owners greater protection from the kind of eminent domain abuse opportunities created by the United States Supreme Court ruling in Kelo vs. City of New London. It makes it harder for the state to expand the number of entities that can exercise eminent domain power. It limits excessive use of eminent domain in the name of eliminating urban blight. And, most importantly it sends a strong message to the Governor and Legislature that Texans take private property rights very seriously.

"With Proposition 11 passed, additional protections are still required to fully protect private property rights. The legislature needs to revisit the kind of protections that would have been created under House Bill 2006 as introduced, overwhelmingly passed and vetoed by Governor Perry in 2007. Property owners deserve full and just compensation for property seized by the government. Property owners also deserve compensation for diminished access that results from the use of eminent domain.

"In vetoing HB-2006 in 2007 Governor Perry said that it would cost the state too much. We believe that seizing private property should be hard, should be expensive, and should only be used as the last resort.

"Projects like the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) need to stand on their own merits and not on the state's ability to take land away from private owners at costs well below market value. And most importantly, state power should never be used to seize private property for the purpose of generating state revenue, whether it's by lease, sale, or toll concession.

"The TTC was always about generating revenue first and providing transportation second. Proposition 11 is another step forward in our effort to ensure that the threat on private property created by the TTC (no matter what new name it may be given) never returns."

Corridor Watch and other property rights advocates like the Texas Farm Bureau are ready to come back at the beginning of next session to try to get additional eminent domain protections. The passage of Prop 11 makes this job easier than it would have been if Prop 11 had not passed. If the voters had not passed Prop 11, it would have sent a message to our elected officials that the people were not really that interested in getting more protection against eminent domain.

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