HB 62: Helping Ensure Just Compensation for Eminent Domain Takings
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Eminent domain is the power of government to take private property for purportedly public use in exchange for just compensation. Banks, large drug companies, and other big businesses have successfully gotten governments all across the country to permit them to use eminent domain in the name of economic prosperity as a greater public good.
Because the “takers” in the eminent domain cases have an incentive to keep their expenses low, they may try to pay as little as possible for property they take. It doesn’t help that under Utah law, determining what just compensation is can be tricky.
To help ensure that every private property owner affected by eminent domain will receive fair and equal value for their taken real estate, Representative Tim Quinn has sponsored House Bill 62. This bill will enables the determination of the property’s value to include “any impact from the public project for which the property was taken” and “the access to the property that exists after the taking.” It also prohibits the consideration of the assessed value on property tax assessment in most cases—just because a county assessor claims a property is worth a certain price should not mean that that’s all the owner actually receives.
If private property is taken, the state should do everything in its power to ensure that the owners of the property receive just compensation. This bill helps ensure that outcome is realized.