Restricting eminent domain no hindrance to development

IJ Research Associate John Ross has an op-ed in today’s Examiner taking on the city of Baltimore’s assertion that reforming Maryland’s eminent domain laws would inhibit economic development:

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Kelo v. City of New London, that municipal officials could seize well-maintained property for private development projects. Baltimore officials, who had filed a brief arguing that restricting eminent domain power would doom efforts to revitalize the city, applauded.

The decision ignited widespread public outrage, and in response, lawmakers in 42 states, Maryland included, placed new limits on the use of eminent domain for private redevelopment projects. Annapolis passed some of the weakest reforms in the nation, however, and the abuse of eminent domain continues unabated in Baltimore. Indeed, the City Council approved eminent domain authority along the Fells Point waterfront and around the Oldtown Mall last fall.

The lack of real reform stems from the ill-founded fear that protecting property owners might undermine economic development. This concern is misguided, however, as a new study examining three indicators most closely related to economic development — construction jobs, building permits and property tax revenues — demonstrates.

Read the rest here.