Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Man Bites Dog!

It's been one of those bromides I've heard for so long, it is interesting to see it finally happen in a serious way.

Government is perpetually assailed by property owners who feel that they should be compensated when the value of their property is diminished by zoning or other land use regulation. However, there is hardly ever any mention of what should happen when the value of property is significantly increased by the same process. Some scholars have suggested that such windfall should be shared in some fashion.

Well, from that recent hotbed of property rights assertions, Oregon, comes news that the Portland Metro Council is considering some kind of "windfall profits tax" to help pay for the impacts of development and...(wait for it) the costs imposed by Measure 37, which requires government to pay landowners for the diminshed value of their property due to land use regulation.

A Metro committee, made up of (get this) mayors, realtors, tax officials and home builders, actually has recommended to the Metro Council that such a measure be considered for discussion and adoption. The action is partly in reaction to the passage of Measure 37 by voters in 2004.

While the head of Oregonians in Action, the group that pushed for passage of Measure 37, does not agree with the windfall profits tax idea, he did suggest that perhaps a fund using property or capital gains taxes paid by owners after their property is developed could be considered.

Truly a "man bites dog" kind of story!

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