Eminent domain abuse is still a problem in Texas, even after 8 years or so of reform efforts. But it pales in comparison to this example from Washington state as reported by Q13 Fox:
The Seattle City Council voted Monday to take the lot near the waterfront by eminent domain, using a portion of the $30 million provided by the state to take care of parking issues around the waterfront. Hundreds of public parking spaces will be lost when the state begins dismantling the Alaskan Way Viaduct for the digging of the tunnel. The construction will last until 2020.
The lot is owned by Spokane resident Myrtle Woldson. She doesn’t want to sell, so the City Council voted unanimously to use it’s power of eminent domain to take it after paying Woldson “fair market value.”
None of the City Council members would speak about their vote, but property rights advocates call it ridiculous.
In this case, the city of Seattle is using eminent domain to seize a parking lot, so they can use it as a parking lot,” said Glen Morgan of the Freedom Foundation, which is an Olympia-based, conservative, free-market think tank. “There’s no public good in that at all.”
Texas still needs to reform its eminent domain laws and stop cities from regulating away property values through zoning and other land use controls. But we are doing better than most, which is one of the reasons Texas has a much lower cost of living than states like Washington in which property is basically held by private citizens for the use of the state.