Saturday, July 15, 2023

Where the Sidewalk Extortion Ends

By BRADEN H. BOUCEK & JUSTIN OWEN, National Review, July 15, 2023 - A Tennessee court has stopped Nashville from using permitting to force homeowners to pay for public-works projects the city won’t fund.

Cities have grand dreams of remaking themselves, but their vision of a gleaming urban future keeps evaporating because they are broke. Instead of getting their fiscal houses in order, America’s cities think they have found an easy way out: Make someone else pay. Specifically, you, and not through the regular-but-politically-toxic order of taxation.

For decades cities have used their permitting offices as a mint, withholding valuable permits until citizens agree to extortionate demands to address public problems that officials refuse to solve. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly compared it to extortion, but the lower courts have done little to stop it.

A landmark legal victory signals that this scam may be coming to an end. (Continue reading)

Rod's Comment: I am pleased to see this story get the national attention it deserves in the prestigious journal National Review

I live in a neighborhood with sidewalks and am glad I do and I wish everyone had sidewalks. However, it is wrong to extort money from someone building a house or substantially remodeling a house in order to get those sidewalks. 

To get the full story about this case, visit the Beacon website and read, "Sidewalks to Nowhere: Jim Knight and Jason Mayes."

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