CONGRESSIONAL RECORD HOUSE
Monday, July 18, 2005
109th Congress, 1st Session
151 Cong Rec H 5939
REFERENCE: Vol. 151, No. 97 SECTION: House
TITLE: H.R. 3268, EMINENT DOMAIN TAX RELIEF ACT OF 2005
SPEAKER: Mr. GINGREY
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Gingrey) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. GINGREY . Mr. Speaker, I rise today as the proud author of H.R. 3268, the Eminent Domain Tax Relief Act of 2005. I also rise to continue the discussion on eminent domain in light of the recent Kelo v. The City of New London, Connecticut, decision by the United States Supreme Court.
Within 1 week of the Kelo decision, this House demonstrated its commitment to the American people and their property rights through passage of House Resolution 340 by an overwhelming and bipartisan vote. Mr. Speaker, through H. Res. 340, this House condemned the Kelo decision and issued a warning that abusive eminent domain will not be tolerated by this Congress.
However, Mr. Speaker, there is more work to be done, and I look forward to the House's consideration of H.R. 3135, the Private Property Rights Protection Act, introduced by the distinguished chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner). I have proudly joined the chairman in cosponsoring this bill that will codify into statute the principles and concerns that we expressed by House Resolution 340.
Today, though, I would like to press forward in the fight to protect the American people's property rights and to discuss H.R. 3268, the Eminent Domain Tax Relief Act. This bill will ensure tax fairness for all who lose property through eminent domain. The Eminent Domain Tax Relief Act will exempt individuals who lose their homes or businesses by eminent domain from paying capital gains tax on the revenue generated from the forced sale.
Mr. Speaker, there is no question that eminent domain must remain a tool of last resort for the government and a tool employed only for public use. However, while most Americans accept traditional and proper execution of eminent domain for schools, roads, and other expressly public uses, no individual should ever have to pick up the tab with IRS when the government decides to sell his or her own home or business. Mr. Speaker, these individuals did not make the decision to sell their property, and they should not be penalized by the Tax Code for a decision that they did not make.
In the wake of the Kelo decision, this Congress, the media, and the collective discussions around American dinner tables across this country have focused upon questions of acceptable uses of eminent domain. Well, the Constitution speaks loud and clear. Eminent domain should only be for public use.
Additionally, the Constitution also requires the government to give just compensation for any taking of private property. Is it just compensation, Mr. Speaker, to send the government wrecking ball and an IRS agent to the same door at the same time? I think not. It is simply unconscionable for the government to add insult to injury by taxing those people who are losing their homes and businesses by no choice of their own.
Often, these individuals have to pay many additional costs when the government condemns their properties. Individuals assume the cost of relocating to somewhere else, and condemned businesses have merchandise that would not only have to be moved but, in many cases, would have to be stored in the interim. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, the government must redouble its efforts to ensure these individuals receive just compensation and are not additionally burdened by the Tax Code.
I encourage all my colleagues to take a good hard look at this legislation. I believe that they will see that it is the right thing to do. There should be no taxation on government condemnation.
Mr. Speaker, I ask all my colleagues to stand firm against this injustice. Sign on to H.R. 3268, supporting tax relief for all those who pay the price when the government wrecking ball comes.