Property Rights

Publications

Viewpoint: Fall 2014

November 26, 2014 in Publications

Click below to view our PDF version of our Fall 2014 issue of Viewpoint, WPC's quarterly magazine!

When The Government Takes Your Home

January 2, 2010 in Publications

In its controversial five-to-four decision in the 2005 Kelo v. City of New London case, the U.S. Supreme Court gave government officials the power to take property from local homeowners and sell it to private corporations as part of a mandatory economic development plan. 

Protecting the People of Washington from Eminent Domain Abuse

March 1, 2008 in Publications

Each year, the state legislature considers a number of bills that address basic civil rights – that is, bills affecting an individual’s rights of personal liberty, rights with which the government cannot constitutionally interfere. One of those basic liberties is the right to own property. In the past two-and-a-half years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s dreadful decision in Kelo v. New London, the legislature has considered a number of bills designed to protect an individual’s right to own property without fear of the government taking it away and giving it to private developers.

Review of Homestead Property Tax Exemption Proposals

March 1, 2008 in Publications

On November 8, 2007 the state Supreme Court struck down the voter-approved 1% limit on increases in annual property tax collections. The legislature quickly overturned the court and re-enacted the 1% limit, but the court’s action put property tax relief center stage in the policy debate in Olympia.

Let There Be 'Blight'

January 16, 2007 in Publications

The city of Burien, Wash., recently decided that a piece of property owned by the seven Strobel sisters that had long housed a popular diner-style restaurant was not upscale enough for the city's ambitious "Town Square" development, which will feature condos, shops, restaurants and offices. Rather than condemn the property for a private developer and risk a lawsuit, Burien came up with a plan--it would put a road through the property, and the city manager told his staff to "make damn sure" it did. When a subsequent survey revealed that the road would not affect the building itself, but only sideswipe a small corner of the property, the staff developed yet another site plan that put the road directly through the building. A trial court concluded that the city's actions might be "oppressive" and "an abuse of power"--but allowed the condemnation anyway. The Washington Court of Appeals affirmed, and the Washington Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

Eminent Domain Abuse in Washington: “Can’t Happen Here” is becoming, “Happening Right Now”

December 19, 2006 in Publications

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo decision has deeply shaken Americans. The ruling says the U.S. Constitution does not prevent state and local officials from seizing people’s homes and small businesses and giving them to private developers.

A False Sense of Security: The Potential for Eminent Domain Abuse in Washington

December 15, 2006 in Publications

Private property is the foundation of a free society. Property rights give citizens the means to defend all their other rights from the encroachments of government or the incursions of others.

Property gives people the means to pursue their dreams and live their lives the way they choose. Private property also provides people with the ability to help others, through their time and voluntary giving. When government takes property through the abuse of its eminent domain power, it makes it harder for citizens to defend their rights, pursue their dreams or help others.

Land Use Laws Create Unintended Consequences

November 17, 2006 in Publications

In the recent election, Initiative 933 – a proposal to compensate property owners for value lost to government regulations – failed, but the consequences created by burgeoning land-use regulations remain. Fears that Initiative 933’s passage would inhibit the ability of local and state governments to maintain the rural areas in our state were one reason the initiative failed. Unfortunately, opponents of Initiative 933 failed to grasp the counterintuitive notion that, sometimes, laws designed to protect rural areas actually backfire and cause additional development.