By William Maurer, Property and Environment Reseach Center
In a landmark victory for private property owners in the Golden State, the California Supreme Court recently upheld a statute abolishing the nearly 400 redevelopment agencies across the state. The court also struck down a law that would have allowed these agencies to buy their way back into existence. The final outcome of the case is that, in 2012, California’s decades-long redevelopment nightmare will finally come to an end.
California redevelopment agencies have been some of the worst abusers of eminent domain, violating the private property rights of tens of thousands of home, business, church, and farm owners. The Institute for Justice has catalogued more than 200 abuses of eminent domain across California during the past ten years alone. In California Scheming: What Every Californian Should Know About Eminent Domain Abuse, the Institute for Justice exposed the enormous amounts of taxpayer money used to fund these illegitimate land grabs. In fiscal year 2005–2006 alone, redevelopment agencies’ revenues were an astonishing $8.7 billion. In other words, 12 percent of all property taxes in California that year were sent to these bureaucrats.