Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kelo v. City of New London Revisited

Do you remember the landmark Supreme Court case of Kelo v. New London, Connecticut when the court ruled that lands taken by eminent domain could be transferred to other private concerns? In this case 7 homeowners had their property seized for commercial development. David Souter was the deciding vote in a 5-4 decision.

Well; after the court ruling and the destruction of all property, the land was cleared for the construction of a new Pfizer pharmaceutical plant. Yesterday the pharmaceutical giant backed out of the deal. New London is left holding a vacant lot without any consideration of the "public good". Truth be told, the confiscation of this land was never going to be in the public best interest. Contrary to popular belief, when commercial and industrial development occurs, the taxes of citizens in the community always goes up. While jobs may be good for some people, the benefit to the community as a whole is negative.

I think it unfortunate that the lawyers for the plaintiffs in this case did not have their hands on the tax study done by the Southern New England Forest Consortium, Inc. and the Trust for Public lands in Connecticut's case. Please view my April 15, 2009 post that graphically presents the case against the public good when commercial and industrial development occurs. That post was my tax day protest. The studies conducted clearly show that as the commercial and industrial taxable value increases in any community, the effective tax rates for residents always go up.

Yes, there may be good for some; however, the "public good" should be considered as this requires that everyone benefit. Private transfer of land to private concerns does not meet that simple litmus test. There is a clear and direct correlation between growing your commercial and industrial base and the subsequent increase in property taxes. Those unaffected by the development are damaged when their property tax increases. Taking lands by eminent domain requires that everyone benefit, not a corporate giant.

You may recall that there was a movement in New Hampshire to take away David Souter's cabin in the woods by eminent domain to build a rustic hotel and vacation destination. It's too bad that never happened. For those of you that believe that this is a liberal thing, think again. This action was taken because of corporate greed. I stand with the homeowners that had their life crushed by the hands of government and blame conservative thinking for this disaster of public policy. I sincerely hope that the landowners get their property back and succeed in pursuing further legal action against those involved. It's too bad you can't sue the Supreme Court. It's not often that such a bad decision becomes so painfully obvious so quickly. I hope there is a lesson in this for everyone. I was steaming when it happened and I'm still steaming over the injustice to the individuals in this case.


1 comment:

  1. This is another example of things that look like a contract, smell like a contract but turn out not to be contracts.
    First pension and retirement plans and now this.
    Those former land owners should be able to sue both the company and the government and not just for damages.