Why the Faith Based 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.”
- Places of Worship Are Threatened – Since places of worship do not pay taxes or generate sales tax revenue, they are particularly vulnerable to redevelopment programs that seek to replace places of worship with revenue generating ventures. Property owned by the Cottonwood Church in Cypress, CA was threatened with condemnation in order to build a tax generating Costco instead. And, in 2006, the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency voted to condemn the Filipino Baptist Church to build condominiums. While both of these projects were abandoned, and the property returned to the church, the threat to any church property is very real.
- 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 places of worship and related properties that support their ministries, from government profiting by seizing property from one private property owner and giving it 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 institution of faith. 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.
- 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.
- Limited Cost to Taxpayers – According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office the “fiscal effect on most governments probably would not be significant.”
- Protects Public Projects – Proposition 98 does not limit government’s ability to use eminent domain for public projects like roads, parks and water supply 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.