Governor Tom Vilsack has vetoed a bill that would have placed more restrictions on Iowa city and county governments seeking to seize private property for economic development projects.
“I believe we can do better,” Vilsack says. “I believe we can craft a bill that not only protects private property — which is very important — but also does not limit economic opportunity and job growth.”
Vilsack says the bill put too many roadblocks in the way of legitimate projects like a city-owned airport in Pella and construction of a rail spur for the ethanol plant in Dyersville. The governor says he’s willing to call legislators back in special session to craft a better bill. “I think we can do better. Other states have done better,” Vilsack says. “Other states have figured out how to do this and I think we should, too.”
But legislators from both political parties, however, vow to attempt to over-ride Vilsack’s veto. Even Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed Fallon has said he’ll vote to override the Democrat Governor Vilsack’s veto. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says he’ll announce on Monday whether there is enough support among legislators to override the governor’s veto.
The governor says if legislators feel strongly about this, he wants to work with them to craft a “more reasonable” approach.”I have enough confidence in the people of Iowa, the reasonable people of Iowa, that we can get this job done better,” Vilsack says.
State legislatures across the country have been crafting bills in response to a controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a Connecticut case where a private property owner unsuccessfully challenged her town council’s seizure of her property, which was turn over to a private developer.
If a special legislative session does not convene this year — Vilsack’s last year as governor — then Vilsack promises to appoint a commission made up of all interested parties to come up with a plan. “Let’s figure this out,” Vilsack says. “Let’s be reasonable.” City and county leaders as well as economic development officials were in the room this (Friday) afternoon when Vilsack made his veto announcement, and the group applauded the governor’s comments. But others are outraged.
Don Peterson is director of government relations for the Iowa Farm Bureau. “We’re shocked and disappointed,” Peterson says. “I’m sure that Farm Bureau members across the state will simply find this unacceptable.” Peterson points out the bill was supported by over 90 percent of the members in the Iowa Legislature. “This is an important issue for property owners, not just farmers, but property owners of all types,” Peterson says.
Today was the deadline for the governor to take action on bills passed during the 2006 legislative session.