Why Reform Eminent Domain?

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Eminent Domain is the issue at our doors today. We know that "the power to tax is the power to destroy." A more direct and immediately destructive power is the power to condemn private property with Eminent Domain. The current abuse of Eminent Domain for private development calls for Reform! The Reform Party of Kansas is against the use of Eminent Domain for private development.

In a government "for the people, of the people, and by the people," the power of Eminent Domain in the hands of our elected officials must be carefully scrutinized by the electorate and only tolerated with great trepidation and disappointment that a mutually satisfactory agreement could not be reached - and then only for obviously public works.

The attempt to use Eminent Domain to condemn Jerry's Bike Shop did not come from the people. It came from the efforts of a private developer that could have directly negotiated with an existing, well-established, 25-year old Topeka business, or that could have adjusted their plans to work around such a business. To see this developer instead take their case to the city government with designs to become successful with another person's property and with "forward-looking" promises to the city of increased revenue is beyond words! That a city government would even consider such a proposal is outrageous: that one person's business should be handed over to another private entity for the advancement of all but the original owner!

In recent years, this abuse of Eminent Domain by governments against their people rather than for their people seems not to be decreasing but rather increasing. With "economic development" in the face of a sagging economy used as the overriding reason, it is clear that this abuse of Eminent Domain could touch many of us or perhaps all of us, as family after family could be pushed out of their homes and businesses, as they are given to the highest bidders.

And who is to say that our homes and businesses would only be taken for local developers? Foreign interests have grown rich with American Dollars due to the disasters of "Free Trade" via NAFTA, GATT, and CAFTA, as well as the unfettered "Outsourcing of American Jobs." In the near future it is quite likely that the majority of developers with adequate financial resources for commercial development and political lobbying will be from China and Japan. If our government can be persuaded to take away our businesses for domestic developers today, how long will it be before they do the same for foreign developers?

The answer is not to allow the city to punish our neighbors for their successes in this difficult business climate. The answer isn't even just to offer special incentives to large, national businesses who are often looking only at their bottom line rather than for a good home. The answer is to make Topeka and all of Kansas an attractive business climate for Kansans!

We need to find ways to encourage local citizens to start and maintain healthy businesses, not take them away from them!

We need to find out what the difficulties of starting and running a business in Kansas are and then reduce or remove them, not multiply them!

We need to look at the administrative burdens imposed on businesses in Kansas and then stream-line them, not make them worse!

We need to look at how business fees and taxes punish successful businesses and their employees and then eliminate them, not increase them.

And when the word spreads that Kansas is the place to start a good business, raise a healthy family, and make a lasting home, then the city won't have to listen to private developers asking for another person's property. They will be able to say: "Look at those people with their successful businesses. They didn't need much if any help from us. Why should they? And why should you? Go ask Jerry how he did it."

To stand firmly against the use of Eminent Domain for private development is to stand in favor of the American Dream in Kansas.

If you really want reform of Eminent Domain, Vote Reform!

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EMINENT DOMAINIA

It simply amazes me that those in positions of authority, who have pledged to uphold our constitution, can so easily forget those promises made to their own constituents, which they now scorn. We as citizens have an opportunity to turn things around, but that window of opportunity is about to slam shut. We must endeavor to return to the principles that made us a great nation. We must begin once again to care about who leads us. America's greatness is fading, because for far too long we have entrusted the direction of this nation to individuals and groups that have had an appearance of goodness and integrity and have wrapped themselves in the icons of our collective American consciousness, while committing the multitude of sins known simply as avarice. I urge all of you to help us truly reform our constitutional republic while we still can.