Op-ed: Big Government Takes Aim at Individual Property Rights (August 2023)

August 8, 2023

Opinion as published by the CT Examiner:


Lately, Progressives in Connecticut, and across the nation, have taken aim at individual property rights. Of course, they set the stage with popular ideas (but still bad) like going after “rich” property managers from out-of-state. Connecticut Progressives have also shown an equal disdain for “landlords” in their own state, whom they accuse of profiting from the misery of their tenants.


This is a clever strategy. Who doesn’t feel sympathy for seniors on fixed incomes or wants to feel as if they are helping the poor? Do not be fooled. Progressives are not motivated by helping folks who are struggling. Rather, they hide behind it to further their true intention of minimizing individual freedom in favor of state control.


In this instance, property managers and “landlords” will not be the only individuals in the crosshairs. Soon, Connecticut Democrats will be knocking on all our doors to dictate what we can do with OUR property.


Yes, this is a bold statement. It is also a statement rooted in fact. There have been several bills in the Connecticut legislature in recent years that seek to impose this government force on private property owners. This past year, multiple new restrictions on housing providers (“landlords”) were passed—as well as more, farther-reaching policies like rent control, price caps, preventing reasonable evictions, and creating local bureaucracies designed to interfere in the marketplace called “Fair Rent Commissions.”


Make no mistake. These are terrible and un-American ideas. Worse, they will not help a single person. Perhaps a few isolated individuals will make out (at someone else’s expense), but any benefit will be short-lived. These changes will soon hurt the market itself and will result in even fewer options for those in need.


One such bill that passed this year was S.B. 988, which aims to fully undermine the property and ownership rights of one singular class of property owner: those who own mobile home parks.


Since the bill received little to no media coverage, here’s the idea: the government is now dictating who a park owner may sell to (even if they already have an agreement with a willing buyer), that they may have to wait up to six months for a matching offer, and even who determines the price of the park in certain situations (someone other than the park’s owner).


The impact of these provisions is more far-reaching than at first glance. Park owners effectively lose their property rights under this new law. When someone else can determine the value of your property and how and when you can dispose of it, is it really yours anymore?


I was shocked to not only see progressive Democrats, but also a few of my Republican colleagues rushing out to support this tragic, divisive, and misguided law.


I was proud to stand in opposition to this harmful measure on the Senate floor for more than two hours, offering multiple amendments as alternative solutions, hoping to preserve the rights of private property owners and protect the interests of unit-owners at the same time. Unfortunately, each of my amendments were rejected along party lines. That the Democrat-majority in Hartford said ‘no’ to these commonsense ideas illustrates how far the legislature has drifted from the values of freedom, personal responsibility, hard work, accountability, equal protection, and justice itself.


It is wholly immoral to use government, and the FORCE of law to deprive someone of the value of property THEY own for your own benefit. This is a key example of what is wrong with government in general. Growing government means increasing the power of politicians to engage in policymaking that results in unequal treatment – for their own political benefit.


How can our American principles be preserved? As I always say, Connecticut residents must get more involved and begin holding their elected officials accountable. Don’t assume how they are voting. You owe it to yourself, and to future generations, to take an interest.