September 30, 2007

Oh, No! Prop. 207 Works! (The Sequel)

By Oh, No! Prop. 207 Works! (The Sequel)

by Timothy Sandefur

Diana Balazs of the Arizona Republic has this article complaining that Prop. 207, which was desgined to prevent the government from infringing on property rights is actually preventing the government from infringing on property rights. "the Private Property Rights Protection Act is severely limiting what government can do to restrict new development to preserve neighborhoods' existing views, local officials and activists say." That's right–because those property owners have the right to develop their properties. That's what ownership means. So when government wants to "preserve" a "view" by barring people from doing what they want with their property, it's infringing on their property rights and owes them just compensation. And that's all it does: requires just compensation. Prop. 207 does not prohibit government from "preserving views": if the taxpayers think the view is worth it, then they'll happily pay for it. What Ms. Balazs is complaining about is that the government is no longer able to simply take the property rights away without compensation.

It's a shame that the Republic so consistently fails to explain this issue in fair terms.

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