YOUR TEXAS AGRICULTURE MINUTE
Time for fairness on eminent domain
By Gene Hall
There’s a Texas-sized battle ahead on eminent domain–the right of government or other legal property takers to claim your land for a perceived public good. The battle will be the Texas Legislature. The time will be next year.
There are public needs that justify legally taking property. Where we sometimes fail our Texas tradition of property rights fairness is in compensation.
Texas landowners lose their property for public projects like pipelines, utilities, stadiums and more. They are paid for it, but sometimes inadequately. We know there are lowball offers for property, at less than a fair price. The property owner can go to court, but with the knowledge that the benefit of a win would be quickly eaten away by court costs. Often, the property owner is forced to give in.
If the taker loses in court, he should pay not only the fair price, but ALL court costs. That, and nothing less than that, is fair.
The preceding commentary is brought to you by Texas Farm Bureau, the “Voice of Texas Agriculture.” Called “Your Texas Agriculture Minute,” TFB will issue thought-provoking editorials each week—via print and audio—to spark understanding of agriculture in the Lone Star State and its impact on each and every Texan.
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