Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Libertarian Party statement on eminent domain reform

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3863 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For Immediate Release:
Date: 09/20/2005

For more information contact:
Doug Leard (Media Relations) or David Jahn (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS

Eminent Domain Reform
A step in the right direction, but further steps are needed

The State Government Committee is holding a public hearing on House Bills 1835 and 1836 on Thursday, September 22nd at the City Council chambers in Pittsburgh. House Bills 1835 and 1836 reform Pennsylvania statutes to prevent municipalities from using eminent domain to appropriate property to:
• turn the property over to a non-public interest
• add or increase the tax base of the municipality
• take land by condemnation without a reverter clause in the declaration of taking.

This clause assures that the property will revert to the condemee or his/her heirs or assigns should the condemned property ever be used for a non-public purpose.

"While a step in the right direction, these bills do not address the root cause of the outrage over the Supreme Court decision," said Ken Crippen, Chair of the Legislative Action Committee of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. "Municipalities still have wide latitude to take our property by just declaring that the property in question is in the 'public interest.'"

The United States Supreme Court ruled in the Kelo v. City of New London case that local governments hold the power to widely interpret what “public use” means for their purposes. As witnessed by the Kelo case, this expanded power comes at the expense of tax paying property owners.

According to David Jahn, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, "the Supreme Court betrayed the constitutional sanctity of property rights in the Kelo decision. Local governments can now seize private property and transfer it to developers of shopping centers, office complexes, hotels and sporting arenas for no more reason than the wishful hope of an increase in local tax revenues. The Court’s decision blights the 'public use' clause of the Fifth Amendment with corporate welfare."

The Libertarian Party plans to make eminent domain and the protection of private property rights a key campaign issue in 2006.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States with over 600 officials serving in office throughout the nation. Please visit www.LP.org or www.LPPA.org for more information on the Libertarian Party.

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