Last summer, Missouri’s elected officials promised to crack down on eminent domain abuse. Last week’s legislation falls far short of that promise. It makes some changes to the process of eminent domain takings, but it fails to curb “blight” takings, which are the primary justification for the abuse of eminent domain.
Missouri’s cable franchise law restricts competition and leaves consumers with few choices. Since the Texas legislature passed cable franchise reform, Texas consumers have benefited from better service and lower prices. Missouri should enact similar legislation to attract investment and increase competition.
The summer of 2005 was not a good one for Sharon Fitzgerald. On Memorial Day, she learned she had inoperable lung cancer. Three days later, she got a knock on her door. It was Jonathan Browne, head of real estate developer Novus Equities. He wanted to buy her house. And he made it clear that this was an offer she couldn't refuse. "He told us that if we didn't sell, he'd just use eminent domain and take our home anyway," said Sharon, "What could we do? With my health and everything and the chance to lose our home anyway, we didn't really have a choice."
For 30 years, the city of Saint Louis has lagged behind its suburbs in economic growth. The city’s earnings tax drives businesses and residents out of Saint Louis and penalizes workers who remain in the city. Repealing the earnings tax will attract economic development and generate greater revenue for the city.
Governor Blunt is to be commended for his focus on accountability and student instruction. But dictating how schools spend their money is the wrong approach. Instead of focusing on accountability to the state, he should be supporting school choice, which makes schools accountable to their customers: parents.
Some activists are demanding that the government force the cable industry to offer its television channels “a la carte.” That may sound good in theory, but in practice it’s a bad deal for consumers. Customers’ bills aren’t likely to go down very much, but they’ll get a lot fewer channels for their money.
The passage of Referendum C last month in Colorado has editorial boards swooning. Colorado voters had "good reason" to suspend their state’s revenue limit, cheered the St. Louis Post-Dispatch while the New York Times proclaimed that "Colorado Got Its Government Back." In their eyes, the victory of Referendum C proves that Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) was a failure and cripples efforts to enact similar proposals in other states. However, these editorial boards greatly overstate their case. An honest appraisal of the past 13 years shows that TABOR was a success in Colorado and that similar limits have a bright future in Missouri and across the country.
Municipalities currently have the power to regulate cable TV service in their community through the use of franchise agreements. Increasing competition has made that system unnecessary, and, ironically, it has become a major impediment to competition. Missouri should follow the lead of Texas and replace it with a streamlined, state-wide franchise system.
We teach our kids that however much we may hate losing, that doesn't make it ok to lash out at the other team or at officials. Rep. Jeffrey Roorda (D-Barnhart), it seems, never learned that lesson. He blames the Cardinals' loss on bad decisions by the umpires, and he's decided to express his frustration through legislation. He wants to extend the state's athletes and entertainers tax--some call it the "jock tax"--which levies taxes on out-of-state athletes who play away games in Missouri, to include the umpires as well. His proposal isn't just bad sportsmanship, it's bad public policy too.