Property Rights

Your home is your castle—unless the government thinks it should be a shopping center. Learn how citizens and local governments can protect homes and businesses from government takeovers.

<p>Your home is your castle—unless the government thinks it should be a shopping center. Learn how citizens and local governments can protect homes and businesses from government takeovers.</p>

Phoenix--The Goldwater Institute filed legal claims today against Maricopa County totaling $20 million on behalf of more than 175 property owners. The compensation claims were filed under provisions of Proposition 207, the Private Property Rights Protection Act, which requires government to compensate property owners when it passes laws or rules that reduce existing property values. 

The Goldwater Institute filed a $20 million dollar claim against Maricopa County on behalf of more than 175 property owners. Under Prop 207, government is required to compensate property owners when it enacts laws that reduce existing property values. Maricopa County placed a building moratorium on building permits in the "Clear Zone" near Luke Air Force Base, which lowered residents' property values. Attorney Carrie Ann Sitren appeared on Channel 3 to explain.

The principles of individual rights and limited government enshrined in the Arizona Constitution are as relevant today as they were when it was written almost 100 years ago. Indeed, its words are the very foundation of ideas that will advance freedom. Article II, Section II of the Arizona Constitution clearly states the purpose of government: All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

Phoenix--The Goldwater Institute today filed a legal challenge against Mesas cultural facilities impact fee, in an effort to force the city to abide by its legal requirement that impact fees must be for necessary public services related to new development.

We have been inundated with stories about the statewide smoking ban that went into effect last week. Reports indicated that patrons cheered at some establishments when the ban became effective on May 1st.

The Arizona Republic noted, The air in the Valley just got a little bit clearer, at least inside.

But the law was never really about breathing healthy air. It was about a majority imposing its will on an unpopular minority.

And its not the smokers I'm talking about.

Just two months ago, Arizona voters sent a resounding message to their government: hands off our property.

Passing Proposition 207 by a 65 percent majority, despite doomsday scenarios from elected officials and bureaucrats, the voters put the clamps on regulations that exceed normal governmental purposes and diminish the value of private property (known as "regulatory takings").

'Star Wars" teaches that the empire always strikes back - and it's doing so big time in opposition to Proposition 207, the Arizona property rights initiative.

Using taxpayer funds to campaign against a pro-taxpayer initiative, bureaucrats and those who profit from government urge a "no" vote on Prop. 207, warning in hysterical Chicken Little fashion that it will end civilization as we know it. You can trust us to protect your property rights, they say.

Proposition 207, the initiative to protect property rights, is a great example of citizens using the initiative process exactly the way it was intended. This is the legitimate response of citizens attempting to protect themselves from local governments aggressively encroaching on their property rights, when other attempts to obtain relief have failed.

In the past year, people around the country have become quite concerned about private property rights. That's understandable. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. City of New London gave governments the green light to seize homes, lands, or businesses through eminent domain if they could conjure up some better use for the space. That's one way to enhance curb appeal, Soviet style.

The U.S. and Arizona constitutions require government to compensate property owners whenever it seizes their land. However, government often passes laws and regulations that depress property values or completely prevent the use of private property, essentially taking the property without explicitly taking title to it. In these instances, loopholes in judicial interpretation of the constitution often allow government to escape having to compensate property owners. These "regulatory takings" became so severe in Oregon that, in 2004, voters overwhelmingly approved a law called Measure 37, which required the government to pay people whenever it conscripted their land for public purposes, even if it did not seize the title outright. This law followed an earlier attempt, called Measure 7, which, despite overwhelming popular approval, was deemed unconstitutional in 2002 by the Oregon Supreme Court. But in February 2006, the court upheld Measure 37, leading many defenders of private property rights to hope that similar reform might be possible to protect home and business owners in other states.