Senator Marcellino Introduces Eminent Domain Legislation

Carl L Marcellino

July 20, 2005

Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R-Syosset) today announced that he has introduced legislation to amend the eminent domain procedure law. This legislation installs a safeguard that insures that when a government invokes eminent domain for economic purposes, it is only done in blighted areas.

"In order to protect New York State property owners, eminent domain power should never be viewed as a quick fix for an economically challenged locality and certainly never for the sole purpose of increasing the tax base at the expense of a legitimate property owners," said Senator Marcellino.

On June 23, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that New London officials had the authority to seize 15 homes in its Fort Trumbull neighborhood to make way for a private riverfront economic development project. The case, Kelo v. New London, Conn., decision broadens the eminent domain power, giving local governments greater authority to seize private property to generate tax revenue.

"The courts decision is alarming, as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor accurately noted in her dissent, ‘the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more.’ The protection of homes and small businesses against government seizure is the fundamental right of the citizens of this State and Country," concluded Senator Marcellino.

Senator Marcellino’s legislation provides that in the State of New York the power of eminent domain shall only be exercised for economic development purposes when the area for economic development is suffering from blight.