Why the Farming and Ranching Community Should Support Prop. 98, the California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act
- Threat is Real – According to the Institute for Justice, a non-profit organization that litigated the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo v. New London case, “…California is one of the biggest abusers of eminent domain in the country.”
- Protects Farm Water and State’s Food Supply- Proposition 98 prohibits public agencies from using eminent domain to seize private property in order to acquire water rights and divert water to urban or industrial use.
- Prohibits Farmland from being Seized to Mitigate Urban Sprawl – Local government will not be able to use eminent domain to seize farmland and open space from private property owners to mitigate development elsewhere.
- Only Ballot Measure to Protect All Property – Proposition 98 will be the only eminent domain ballot measure to appear on the June 2008 ballot that protects all private property, including all businesses and farms, from government who wish to profit by conveying property from one private property owner to another private entity.
- Provides Full Compensation – Proposition 98 is the only measure that provides full compensation, even when property is seized for public projects. Lifts the $10,000 cap on reimbursable expenses associated with legal or other expenses. Property owners will be compensated for all reasonable costs associated with moving, loss of business, and reestablishment of the business. Should a public agency take immediate possession of property (“quick take”), the owner is entitled to prompt release of the money offered while keeping the right to challenge the agency’s offer, and its right to take the property.
- Limited Cost to Taxpayers – According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office the “fiscal effect on most governments probably would not be significant.”
- Abandonment Clause – It is the only measure that includes a provision that requires a public agency to return the seized property to its original owner if the public project is ever abandoned. Under this provision, property would also be taxed at the pre-condemnation value.
- Protects Public Projects – Proposition 98 does not limit government’s ability to use eminent domain for public projects like roads, parks and water projects, nor does it limit local zoning ordinances and land use decisions, workplace regulations or projects that benefit the health and safety of a community or environment.