1. Coincidence and Conflict of Interest? HB 652 was filed January 12 and the Fiscal Impact Statement was not dropped until an hour before the full Courts of Justice Committee met on Wednesday, February 3, where it was in the uncontested bloc. In COJ Civil Sub-Committee, where VDOT lobbied against it, members voted 10-0 to report HB 652.
2. If VDOT believes having to pay for land rendered inaccessible will cost it $36 million over five years, then it is in fact admitting it has been cheating property owners for years and years.
3. It also is an admission that it wants to take property on the cheap by not officially "taking it" from the property owner, but letting him or her keep it, although it now has become useless.
4. If VDOT doesn’t want a fiscal impact, then it shouldn’t take the land, or take less than it really needs.
5. Under VDOT’s logic, The General Assembly would not have been able to pass the 2007 Eminent Domain Reform Bill: If it estimates the “cost” of HB 652 to be in the millions, it would have had to estimate the 2007 bill as a cost of trillions!
MOST IMPORTANT, AND WHY THIS FISCAL IMPACT STATEMENT IS A NON-STARTER, AND WHY HB 652 SHOULD BE REPORTED:
6. The impact rationale is faulty and speculative at best: The bill requires NOTHING of VDOT — it only allows the property owner to present evidence to the jury. The jury MUST decide and VDOT still has the opportunity to make its case!
A bit of explanation: Fiscal Impact Statements are supposed to be for fixed costs, not speculative costs. But, what has us wondering, why don't these "Fiscal Impact Statements" ever measure the "impact" on the taxpayer?