While it may be a new year, it is an old Gov. Rick Perry still using his old tricks in the new legislative session to address old business — toll roads and eminent domain.
Brief history of eminent domain in Texas
In 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court haphazardly voted to permit government to acquisition private property for development and many rightfully concerned legislators around the nation began actions to protect their property owning constituents.
On Nov. 25, 2005, Gov. Perry signed Senate Bill 7 that protected Texans from takeover of private property for development (but it did not really protect property owners or provide appropriate and reasonable reimbursement for land taken).
In 2007, Gov. Perry vetoed House Bill 2006 offering additional compensation requiring eminent domain commissioners to consider “loss of access” when determining dollar amounts. The bill also provided for recovery of damages, e.g., changes to traffic patterns and visibility of remaining property from the road.
HB 2006 was supported by many prominent individuals and organizations, including, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, The Texas Farm Bureau, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association — to name a few.
The reason Gov. Perry said he refused to sign the 2007 bill is because he was pressured by cities, counties and the Texas Department of Transportation to veto it because it increases cost of eminent domain for roads and highway construction. Don't you believe it.
Perry does NOT want to reimburse property owners proportionately per the value of the land government will take from you to build his beloved Trans-Texas Corridor and dozens of other toll roads proposed throughout Texas. Huge campaign contributions from wealthy toll road enthusiasts ensure that Perry remains more concerned about assuring the mega future profits of these entities than protecting most Texas landowners.
Perry does NOT give a hoot about the property rights of Texans. Perry constantly tells us "No New Taxes" but what are these significant tolls if not new and extreme taxation?
However, the reality is if government forcibly takes someone’s property, it had better pay property owners fair-market value.
The truth is that Gov. Perry is not attempting to provide more protection for Texas property owners. Rather, he is “stacking the deck” for government and special interest toll road entrepreneurs to pay land owners as little as possible when taking private property to build and maintain the TTC and other toll roads.
Throughout history Texans have fought too hard and too long to let a parasitic governor shoot through legislation that will eliminate significant property protection and honest reimbursement for property taken.
In addition, if the voters let Perry win this epic battle simply by reelecting him, we will pay infinite and ongoing increases in toll taxes for generations to come. Is that the legacy we want to leave our children's children?
Vote for Bill White.
He believes in Texas and Texans. He would never permit government or land developers to steal your land from you.