Homes Under Siege

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," July 13, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, the Supreme Court says that, if a developer thinks he could make better use of the land under your home than your home, goodbye to your home.

Not so fast, says the governor of Missouri, who just stopped those black robe guys in their tracks.

Governor Matt Blunt joins us right now.

Governor, good to have you.

GOV. MATT BLUNT, R-MO.: Great to be with you.

CAVUTO: What does this mean in your state? It's not that eminent domain is gone. It's just that it is a tougher threshold, right?

BLUNT: It's a much higher threshold.

And we very specifically reject the U.S. Supreme Court's position, which stated that any time government can create more revenue with your land, they have a right to seize it. We specifically reject that, and say that that threshold is not enough, that you cannot seize private property just to create more revenue for government. So...

CAVUTO: And you — you also...

BLUNT: So, we reject the court decision.

CAVUTO: But you also stipulate, which is interesting here, and will probably get a lot of other governors' attention, that, if you do seize it, there should be a premium paid for it. Explain.

BLUNT: There — there should be a premium paid for it.

You know, if you are seizing somebody's home, their private home, or a farm that's been in a family for 100 years, there is an intrinsic value there that doesn't just go with fair market evaluation.

So, we need to try and compensate for that. And we actually do require that a local government body that is exercising eminent domain, even for an appropriate purpose, say the building of a road, has to try and compensate for that with an additional — an additional payment, because of that heritage value that that has to you and your family.

CAVUTO: This is a dumb question, Governor. Can this stand up under law? In other words, if someone is plowing down these homes, and you are saying, all right, it's been in the family for 50 years, and I think they should get a 50 percent premium — I think that's one of the provisos.

BLUNT: That is right.

CAVUTO: The — the builder or the developer might say: Forget that. The Supreme Court says otherwise.

BLUNT: You know, the only good thing in the Supreme Court decision was, it did say that states have a right to regulate and constrain eminent domain practices. And that's exactly what we are doing.

We are constraining what local governments can do. We are constraining the types of arrangements they can enter into with developers, so that we better protect homeowners, and family farmers, and all property owners in our state.

CAVUTO: All right.

So, the first time a developer tries to do this, tries to wipe out a neighborhood, or whatever, for a mall or whatever, the — the least he can expect to have to fork over is a premium over what those homes ultimately would have gone for.

BLUNT: Most definitely.

And, again, this is somebody's home. There is a value in your home. There is a lot of memories in your home. And it needs to be protected. And they ought to have to pay a premium.

There are a number of other provisions that — that we have included. There is a homeowners bill of rights that allows them to more effectively dispute even a market evaluation — so, a number of other provisions in the legislation that really do...


BLUNT: ... help protect homeowners.

CAVUTO: All right. Very interesting.

Governor Matt Blunt, in Saint Louis, good having you.

BLUNT: Thank you very much.

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