Is eminent domain a real monster?

Published 12:07 am Sunday, October 30, 2011

We’ve long thought adding or modifying laws needs to be done carefully, and only for a good reason.

Simply creating new laws or policies on the off chance that they may be needed or to fight some sort of boogey man problem that doesn’t exist is ridiculous.

In such cases, proponents often will use emotion and scare tactics to try and worry people to supporting their cause at the polls.

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Such is the case with at least one of the three ballot initiatives on the statewide ballot in Mississippi this year.

Initiative 31 claims it will safeguard Mississippi property rights by further restricting eminent domain laws. Supporters paint a picture that is one that includes phrases such as: “Should a person’s house or farm be taken and turned over to a private developer immediately?”

Our immediate reaction is: Of course not!

But the state’s current eminent domain law has been on the books for decades.

Quick, can you think of a single case in which someone you know was wronged by the state taking away their property?

We can’t either.

Clearly, while Initiative 31 strikes us all in our heart, its real aim is fighting a demon that doesn’t really exist.

In the end, if the initiative passes, it’s quite possible to have the opposite effect — if industrial development slows, property values could be lowered in the process.

Please vote “No” on Initiative 31 and by doing so vote “Yes” for our state’s economic future.