SBE Council Critical of Eminent Domain Attacks on Small Business, 12/8/05

Press Release

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) published a new report today highlighting the dangers faced by small businesses when government abuses its power of eminent domain.

Writing in "Under Attack: Small Business Faces the Abuse of Eminent Domain," [available for downloading at www.sbecouncil.org] SBE Council chief economist Raymond J. Keating noted that especially in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. City of New London, "Homes and small businesses — indeed, the 'American Dream' — stand vulnerable to being bulldozed by politicians and government bureaucrats coupled with powerful special interests."

SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan declared: "The first duty of government is to protect private property. Indeed, the future of entrepreneurship is in peril as certainty with respect to property rights is central to a vibrant small business sector, and in turn a growing economy."

Keating criticized the economics behind government initiatives to take property from one private entity in order to hand it over to another private entity, noting that government schemes for urban renewal, economic development or industrial policy have a long track record of failure. He added: "In reality, the only reliable economic development program is for government to keep taxes low, maintain the lightest of regulatory touches, and protect property."

The report highlights various examples of government abusing small businesses through misuse of eminent domain powers.

Keating concluded: "Small business owners must worry that some government officials think they can rake in additional tax dollars if they replace small businesses with other ventures. Small business owners need to get active on this issue at the local, state and federal levels of government. They need to push aggressively for legislative and constitutional changes that will crack down on eminent domain abuses."

The U.S. House of Representatives has been praised by the SBE Council for passing the 'Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2005,' H.R. 4128. Now, it is critical that the U.S. Senate quickly do the same, according to the group.

The SBE Council, a nonpartisan, nonprofit small business advocacy group works to protect small business and promote entrepreneurship: www.sbecouncil.org