Saturday, June 25, 2005

Kelo and Tax-Exempt Status

On Friday afternoon I was listening to Albert Mohler on the radio. He was speaking with Derek Gaubatz of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. [Interview audio available here]

Before hearing that broadcast, my thoughts on the Kelo verdict centered around the seizure of individual property. But their discussing pointed out another effect: tax-exempt properties could be in danger.

If cities can seize private property for economic purposes, as implied in the New London situation, then an economically hurting community could make a case to seize a piece of land owned by a tax-exempt organization. Churches, Synagogues, Mosques. Any religious, tax-exempt property could be in jeopardy because the city could transfer ownership of this property to another private organization who would have to pay property taxes and thus increase city revenue.

I realize this sounds a little paranoid, but I'm not saying it will happen, I'm just saying that now, because of Kelo it's conceivable that it can happen.