Legislation being offered by Republican State Sen. Jeff Wentworth would create a massive land-grab for schools, forcing developers to sell property at or below market value.

Sen. Wentworth’s legislation would require private residential land developers to offer up at least 15 acres of land to the area school district. So much for the free market and property rights.

Austin’s KLBJ reported Sen. Wentworth would add “new rules” and added regulation to those looking to develop large neighborhoods in Texas.

The bill would essentially compel land developers to offer up and sell parts of their proposed plots to the local school district for possibly less than what the market would demand for the land.

Sen. Wentworth’s bill represents needless regulation and government interference.

I don’t disagree that new neighborhoods would be nice with schools in them, but I do believe that it’s not the state government’s place to compel private sector developers to “notify” and “set aside” acreage to sell for a price lower than what the government would pay if they were working through the free market.

As it is, large residential developers can already seek out the school district’s interest to build within their developments as it would likely increases the value of their investment.

Likewise, school districts (especially those in quickly developing areas) should certainly be examining their best options to support new population growth.  The point being, in a free market, these matches make themselves and do not require the Sen. Wentwoth’s hand-holding or price fixing.

Andrew Kerr is the Executive Director of Empower Texans / Texans for Fiscal Responsibility

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