It has been another busy week on Beacon Hill. On Tuesday, MAR President Annie Blatz testified before the Joint Committee on Revenue in opposition to a proposal that would create a new transfer tax on the sale of real estate in Provincetown.
President Blatz testified that the creation of any “entrance or exit fee” to homeownership is the wrong policy for Massachusetts. Such a tax would result in thousands of dollars due at closing from the buyer or taken from the seller’s proceeds. For a buyer, this would raise the cost of becoming a homeowner, and for a seller a transfer tax would result in “equity stripping” of the value of one’s home. For those sellers with little or no equity in their home, transfer taxes could force sellers into a short sale situation. Very simply, transfer taxes would increase the cost of home ownership and create an additional barrier to entry for an already expensive state.
If passed, other Massachusetts communities and interest groups facing budgetary issues and needs could seek similar authority to solve revenue problems. The imposition of this type of new sales tax on homes could have serious implications for the Massachusetts economy and set the wrong precedent for the Commonwealth’s tax policies. By testifying at the hearing in opposition to the proposal, MAR continues to fight for sound tax policy and protect new and existing homeowners.
(Please note: This blog post was prepared by MAR Legal Staff: Michael McDonagh, General Counsel; Ashley Stolba, Associate Counsel; Justin Davidson, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel; and Christine Howe, Public Policy and Finance Coordinator)