Sunday, January 08, 2006

For the NFL

Here's a another news story about the use of eminent domain to provide a new stadium for an NFL football them, this time for the Indianapolis Colts. Here's something interesting from the story:
"The government has offered the Hurst company $3.7 million for its property, including the factory building. Hurst officials, according to The Indianapolis Star, have estimated the costs of moving the factory alone at more than $7.5 million, not including the cost of acquiring new land and a new building.

Indiana's current eminent-domain law is so vague that government can often get by with simply calling a property blighted, whether it is or not. Such would appear to be the case in the Hurst case."
Note the suggestion that the use of eminent domain in this case is attempting to take property which is not "blighted," and is property that is actually being used in a successful business.

Further, note that government has offered only $3.7 million while the owner of the property estimates the cost of moving his business to be nearly twice the offer. Perhaps this suggests, first, a point that has been suggested before on this blog, i.e., the compensation that is paid under the power of eminent domain may be significantly less than a figure we would reasonably consider consistent with the constitutional requirements of "just compensation." Second, if we take the government's offer of $3.7 million as an expression of the value of the property to government, then the property owner's estimate of the costs of moving his business in this case may suggest the property is already in a more highly valued use (from an economic perspective) that would be the case if the property becomes part of the provision of NFL football. Presumably, the point of using eminent domain for "economic development" is that the use for which the property is taken will be a more highly valued use than was previously associated with the property. If the property is put to a less valued use, then we would appear to be talking not about "economic development" but "economic diminishment."

["Editorial: Stadium authority tries an eminent domain end run: Legislature should not let it succeed,", originally published January 5, 2006]

No comments: