Property rights are essential to the preservation of a free society. Yet in recent years, we seem to have morphed from one that respects property rights to a “permission first” society, where you first must obtain the government’s approval to use your property.  In response, Beacon is committed to protecting property rights in all forms, and working to promote greater freedom and individual liberty. First, the state should give taxpayers basic protections from large property tax increases. Tennessee is one of only four states in the country without any statewide limit on the growth of property taxes. Property taxes hinder small business growth and impact company location decisions, inhibiting innovation and job creation. Tennessee taxpayers already have the right to vote on local sales tax increases as well as some wheel tax increases and should be afforded the same opportunity with property taxes. 

Additionally, citizens should be treated fairly when applying for a permit related to the use of their property, such as an occupancy permit, building permit, or zoning variance. Permit requirements should be clear and unambiguous. Additionally, citizens should receive their permit in a reasonable timeframe. The government should not be able to trap people in the bureaucratic process by “denying by delay.” 

Beacon has also fought to ensure that property owners of short and long-term rentals, such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO hosts, have their constitutional rights protected to use their property without unnecessary government interference.

Additionally, we have and will continue our efforts to end the abuse of eminent domain, which permits the government to confiscate the property of Tennesseans when they’ve arbitrarily determined it to serve a greater “public good.” In these circumstances, property owners are often offered far less than market value for their land or home, while the government fails to deliver on the “public good” it claims the taking will serve.

Finally, Beacon is committed to researching and highlighting property rights and free market policies at the local level. Our City Freedom Index ranked the state’s 30 most populous cities on a variety of policies, including their protections of property rights.