NFIB Opposes League of California Cities Eminent Domain Ballot Measure: National Federation of Independent Business, 10/4/07

News release
Despite purported protections, measure excludes small businesses and other property

The National Federation of Independent Business announced that it opposes the Homeowners and Private Property Protection Act ballot measure, sponsored by the League of California Cities for the June 2008 ballot.

The decision follows a recently released analysis by the Institute for Justice, the non-profit organization that represented Susette Kelo before the U.S. Supreme Court, which states that “the Act will provide insubstantial protection against the use of eminent domain for private commercial development. Small business owners will continue to lose not only their buildings, but also their incomes. All farmers and working class renters are vulnerable. Californians require real, substantive reform for everyone and the Act does not come close to providing it.”

“California’s economy and jobs are dependent on the success of small-business owners,” said NFIB’s California executive director John Kabateck. “Laws need to be changed to prohibit the kind of eminent domain abuse that allows government to profit by seizing homes and small businesses and giving it to politically connected developers.”

The League’s ballot measure includes the following flaws:

  • No protections for businesses, family farms, places of worship and retirement, rental and investment properties.
  • Fails to redefine the term “blight,” allowing the most modest homes or productive businesses to be seized if they are adjacent to blight, lack parking, or the “existence of subdivided lots of irregular form or shape.”
  • Homeowner protections are limited and a loophole allows property to be seized if it is incidental to a public project.
  • The act has significantly fewer protections than state legislation sponsored by the League (ACA 8 - De La Torre) that failed on the Assembly floor.
  • Includes a “poison pill” provision that nullifies a competing June ballot measure, the California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act, which according to IJ will provide “broad reaching, non-discriminatory protections of homes, farms, business and house of worship from the abuse of eminent domain.”

NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan small-business advocacy association NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses: www.NFIB.com