Property Rights

Your home is your castle—unless the government thinks it should be a shopping center. Learn how citizens and local governments can protect homes and businesses from government takeovers.

<p>Your home is your castle—unless the government thinks it should be a shopping center. Learn how citizens and local governments can protect homes and businesses from government takeovers.</p>

Tony Boccaccio is a small-business owner in Tempe, Arizona.  Like many successful business owners throughout the country, he is planning additions and improvements to his property.  Expanding his office and warehouse space is estimated to cost $1 million.  As his business grows, you would think that Mr. Boccaccio has little to worry about as he lives the American dream.  However, Tempe city planners have other ideas.

Arizonans Concerned about Smoking is pushing a statewide smoking ban in Arizona's private restaurants and bars. Smokers and nonsmokers are up in arms, debating which group's rights should triumph.

Both groups miss the point.

When it comes to private property, one person's rights matter-the right of the owner to say how his property may be used. America's founding fathers understood the value of private property, and the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, contains numerous direct and indirect provisions for the protection of property rights.

In the computer game SimCity, players construct their own utopias of bustling urban centers or quaint little towns. They can build streets, skyscrapers and stadiums, and decide where to place parks, police stations and power plants. The game invites players to "Play God, play mayor!"

Amazing, isn't it? In the land of Barry Goldwater, a municipal government can take your land and give it to another private citizen, or to a corporation. Of course, the government must pay you "fair market value," but that's no consolation if you didn't want your property to be on the market in the first place.

Like the U.S. Constitution, the Arizona Constitution clearly states the purpose and scope of government. The primacy of individual rights and its corollary, a government of strictly limited and defined powers, is established in the opening declaration:

Phoenix: During this legislative session lawmakers will consider a host of proposals aimed at protecting consumers. But a new report says one of those, the Cellphone Users Bill of Rights, will likely hurt the consumers it aims to help.

PHOENIX -- An Arizona Supreme Court amicus brief filed today, written by the Goldwater Institute and joined by the NAACP Maricopa County Branch, argues for upholding private property protections guaranteed by the Arizona Constitution and asks the Court to uphold the legal standard developed in Bailey v. Meyers that protects property owners against eminent domain abuse by governments. 

Phoenix--The 2006 legislative session opened today with the Governors annual State of the State Address, during which the Governor identified budget and policy priorities for this year, most of which call for a larger and more expensive state government. The Goldwater Institute offers 100 ideas for 100 days that will instead allow for growth in the private sector.

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