Tag Archives: fees

Oklahoma Property Rights Protection Bill or Property Rights Destruction Bill?

 

little house

Kaye Beach

May 1, 2014

As promised from the start, HB 2620 which is supposed to prohibit cities from mandating vacant property fees and registration, and HB 3363 which defines “abandoned buildings” as a public nuisance, have been combined. The title for the new version of HB 2620 remains “Protect Property Rights Act”  (Call me cynical but such titles of bills always make me think “PATRIOT ACT”)

There are some grave issues with this measure but for now I am only going to address the first portion.  (I will post the about the rest of it before this weekend in over)

The reasoning for merging the registry ‘ban’ bill (HB2620)  with the abandoned property definition bill (HB3363) is so that owners of property with ‘bad’ vacancies CAN be targeted, forced to register and accrue a variety of fines and fees which if not paid will result in a lien being placed on their property.

Both bills were passed by the House and sent to the Senate (Hb3363 with title off) HB3363 was not heard in the Senate but was combined with HB 2620 after the bill was passed by the senate.

What we have now is a mess that is due to be heard in the House General Government Conference Committee  next week.  I am almost certain that our legislators will not pass this monster of a bill in anything resembling its current state but you never know….and I am concerned enough about it that I am going to begin squalling now rather than taking the ‘hide and watch’ approach and end possibly up regretting that later on.

The first portion of the committee substitute for HB2620 is supposed to prohibit municipalities from implementing mandatory fees and registries for real property.  Rep. Steve Martin, the House author,  says he wants to  protect property owners from onerous and expensive city mandates such as the recent OKC vacant property registration ordinance which he feels goes too far.

Residential properties that are vacant for 30 days must register the property with the city.  If your property is,  at a minimum, 1. vacant  and 2. water and electric has been shut off for more than 60 days, you are required to pay a $285 fee and an annual renewal fee of $190.  It doesn’t matter if the building is entirely up to code.  If those two conditions apply, your property is designated a “vacant property” that requires you to pay for some special attention from the city government.  Read more about OKC’s new vacant property registry here

I agree with the House author of HB 2620 that state intervention in municipal actions that violate city residents’ right’s is appropriate.  However, it is doubtful that the current language will survive to passage of the bill.

For one thing, it is too broad. As currently written this measure would not only nullify all existing vacant property registries and fees but also other existing registries such as for storm shelters which allows rescuers to find and search all shelters in the aftermath of a disaster. Not only will the cities vehemently oppose such a measure, citizens might as well.  Whether or not you agree with the premise that there should be no mandatory registries of real property, understand that the bill is not likely to survive to address the stated goal of halting vacant property registries when written this broadly.

More concerning than what may appear to be merely a stubborn stance on principle (which I usually don’t criticize) is that numerous statements made by the bill’s authors clearly indicates that they do not really oppose all “registration of real property” as the bill states but simply mandatory registration of otherwise perfectly maintained property that happens to also be vacant.

‘Treat also sponsored House Bill 3363, which defines abandoned buildings and how they should be handled by a city. He said he could merge the two bills to help better define what is an abandoned or vacant building. Treat also said Oklahoma City’s fee requirement will not reach those it is intended for – improper property owners’ Link

Its going to be a real trick to separate these proper and “improper” owners, I’m afraid.  In fact, it will be impossible to pass such a measure that will not inevitably harm what you and I might classify as good property owners.

When you consider the fact that state law already allows for the city to deal with “improper” property owners which are those whose use or neglect of their property harms the general right of others, you might wonder what it is we are missing here.   Protecting our rights is precisely the purpose of government in the first place and they are well-seasoned to the task.  City government has broad police power to intervene anytime the rights its residents are threatened furthermore, city governments in this state also have specific statutory authority abate common public nuisances. (See Title 11 )  So what problem do we have that is so new and extraordinary that we need to grant cities some brand new powers?

I don’t agree that some vacant property registries are necessary or proper and think It would be a grave mistake for the state legislature to further burden  property owners with such registries or fees at all.   

Registration is not necessary as cities already know where the problem properties are and how to contact the owners. For example, this is from a 2013 City of Norman Council Oversight Meeting where the issue of a vacant property registration was discussed.

‘Ms. Leah Messner, Assistant City Attorney said locating the property owners is not an issue’

It is important to note that city, state and federal properties are exempt from enforcement of such city ordinances. Government properties (even the ones that may have been taken fro you for being an ‘improper’ owner) can sit happily vacant for as long as the government wants them to with no penalty.  As noted by the Norman assistant City Attorney, banks can be exempt and the outcome of recent federal lawsuit indicates that federal mortgage holders like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also exempt from such city ordinances.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Exempt From Chicago Vacant Building Ordinance

 However, there are no exemptions for the average property owner or financially struggling individuals.  When the Norman Assistant City Attorney was asked if there were any exemptions from a vacant property registry and the attendant fees for low-income property owners her answer was simply “No

It is easy to see why property owners might feel that vacant and abandoned property programs are open to abuse and possibly a racket that will result in an even greater transfer of wealth from the ordinary citizen to government and their cronies.  In fact, in cities across the nation where vacant and abandoned property programs like the one Oklahoma City is apparently embarking on,  are well advanced, there is plenty of evidence that such fears are complete warranted.

Here is what I’m afraid might happen;  if the HB 2620 is amended at some point prior to final passage to protect only perfectly pristine vacant properties  registration and fees wouldn’t it also, by omission, bless city ordinances to mandate registration of any other vacant properties?  This would end up being a case of the exception that swallows the rule.

I guess the question is do you support subjecting property owners (except for the government and big banksters) to more bureaucracy, fines, fees and risk of having their property taken?  Do we have a right to own property that is vacant?

If you think we do have the right to really own our private property then you might want to encourage the members of the  General Government Conference Committee  to be careful and not allow HB2620 to be amended to turn a what is supposed to be a property rights protection measure into a property rights destruction law.

All vacant property registries should be prohibited.

The rest of the measure is an utter nightmare and deserves it own separate post which will go up sometime this weekend.

Oops! Ellis’ Gun Right’s Constricting Bill Was a Mistake

Kaye Beach

Feb 1, 2012

On  Jan 28th I re-posted this Action Alert from OK2A

OK2A ACTION ALERT: Senator Ellis Wants To Disarm CCL Holders

On Jan 30, 2012 Fox 25 reports;

Gun rights bill confusion

Gun owners are outraged over a senate bill that would restrict gun rights.  But hopefully they won’t be upset for long.  It ends up the bill itself and subsequent outrage is all one big mix-up.  more

OK2A, the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association writes;

The language contained in the bill would do away with all reciprocal agreements for concealed carry permits in Oklahoma.  Senator Ellis, the author, and the Oklahoma Rifle Association, the sponsor, have both said that the language in the bill is an error.

Fox 25 spoke with Sen.Ellis and Tim Gillespie, founder of OK2a on Monday;

See Video Here

OK2A says SB 1550 is still a bad bill even with the offending language removed;

They say the bill was meant to make it illegal for Oklahoma residents to have a concealed carry permit from another state.  It is still a bad bill.

This notion treats a symptom rather than dealing with the real problem.  Oklahoma’s concealed carry permit is too expensive.  To get an Oklahoma CCL you are going to spend at least $175 between the class, the Sheriff, OSBI, etc., while in other states you can get it for much less.  That is why we are sponsoring SB1550, authored by Senator Shortey, which would lower the fee to $35 for OSBI and the Sheriff.

We don’t like the notion that people are being charged at all for exercising their God-given, Constitutionally-recognized rights.  But at least this bill brings the fee down closer to what it should be, $0, and makes it more affordable for people to get the CCL from Oklahoma.

Please continue to call Senator Ellis.  Tell him SB1556 is still a bad idea.  Ask him to withdraw it and support SB1550 instead.  You may reach Senator Ellis’ office at (405) 521-5614.

Irish Pensions Pay for Job Creation

Kaye Beach

May 12, 2011

I always wonder when I hear about the government “creating jobs” how this can be so since the government can only take money not  make money.

Joe Weisenthal and Gregory White reporting for BusinessInsider.com, writes

The Irish government plans to institute a tax on private pensions to drive jobs growth, according to its jobs program strategy, delivered today.

Without the ability sell debt due to soaring interest rates, and with severe spending rules in place due to its EU-IMF bailout, Ireland has few ways of spending to stimulate the economy. Today’s jobs program includes specific tax increases, including the tax on pensions, aimed at keeping government jobs spending from adding to the national debt.

The tax on private pensions will be 0.6%, and last for four years, according to the report.

IRISH BOMBSHELL: GOVERNMENT RAIDS PRIVATE PENSIONS TO PAY FOR SPENDING

How the US Government Will Seize Your Retirement Account

May 11, 2011
by Simon Black

Following in the footsteps of a rather ignominious list of nations like Argentina and Hungary, the government of lreland is set to take its ‘fair share’ of private retirement funds.

Drowning in debt and faced with unpopular, unrealistic, ridiculously unpopular austerity measures, the government has announced that it will now tax private pension savings in order to raise 470 million euros (roughly $675 million) per year… a lot of money in a country of only 4.4 million people.

Somehow, the government expects to be able to create 100,000 jobs to bring down an unemployment rate at 14.7%.  Perhaps they plan on hiring 100,000 new workers to go around the country and collect the tax.

It reminds me of what I saw in Bolivia a couple of weeks ago– there’s a tax or toll or fee for nearly everything you do. Driving on the highway (if you can call it that) outside of Santa Cruz, you pay a toll… obviously not for the maintenance of the road, but to pay the salary of the toll collector.

At the airport, you have to pay an airport tax before departure… obviously not for the upkeep and efficiency of the airport (it took 2-hours to make it to my gate), but to pay the salaries of the guys who collect the airport tax.

This is what politicians consider ‘job creation,’ yet these positions only serve to destroy value.  That they would stick up the retirement funds of hard working people is even more immoral.

Here’s the best part, though. If you are a government worker in Ireland, your pension is exempt. They’re only going after people in the private work force.  It’s truly disgusting logic to force private workers to pay for years of political incompetence while absolving government employees.

Coincidentally, there are a few other loopholes as well, particularly for non-residents and non-resident funds. Apparently those Irish who saw the writing on the wall and got busy moving themselves and their assets offshore will get to keep all of their savings

Read More

And how did Ireland get in the terrible economic fix they are in?

Ireland Calling by John Spain

Morgan Kelly: the professor who tells the truth

Brian Lenihan’s original decision to give a blanket guarantee to the Irish banks in September 2008 was a serious mistake.

But Kelly reserves his real fire for what came after that.  “The real error was in sticking with the guarantee long after it had become clear that the bank losses were insupportable,” he says.

We all know now that the banks either covered up or did not grasp the full extent of their losses back then, and that Lenihan was misled about the scale of the problem.  But as time went on, the depth of the black hole became increasingly clear.  And instead of confronting it, we tried to hide it under the carpet.

Read more