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Opinions Mixed on Wake County Land Transfer Tax

Posted September 26, 2007

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— Wake County is growing fast, adding an estimated 98 people a day. Some people are organizing an effort to have residents cover some of the cost of that growth when they sell real estate. It is called a land transfer tax, and some want it on the 2008 ballot in Wake County.

John Olds has worried since May about the possibility of a land transfer tax. He has already felt the pinch of a tightening real estate market while trying to sell his home.

"I think it has been more difficult, but we have had a steady flow of [house] showings,” said Olds.

If tax proponents succeed, homeowners like Olds would pay 0.4 percent of the price to Wake County when they sell a piece of real estate.

"It's just another factor that decreases that amount of equity that you are going to be able to get on the house,” Olds said .

The group, Wake Up Wake County, is in favor of the transfer tax if the money goes toward education. The 2007 General Assembly gave counties permission to seek voter approval for the 0.4 percent land transfer tax.

"We have to get the county commissioners to put it on the ballot," said Karen Rindge, of Wake Up Wake County.

Wake Up Wake County is already lobbying hard.  They have met with several Wake County commissioners, including Chairman Tony Gurley. Gurley wants to put both the land transfer tax and a quarter-cent sales tax increase on the ballot. By law, though, the county could impose only one.

Members of Wake Up Wake County want only the land transfer tax passed.

"A transfer tax can raise twice as much money than a sales tax in Wake County,” said Rindge.

Rindge's group estimates the land transfer tax would yield about $50 million a year that would stay in Wake County and could go to new schools.

"We think it's a fair way to go,” said Rindge.

The North Carolina Homebuilders Association has already come out against the idea.

"Schools are something that benefit everybody and everybody should pay for them, not just the people that are selling their home,” said Lisa Martin, regulatory affairs director of the N.C. Homebuilders Association.

Some real estate agenta argue that the land transfer tax could tighten the housing market even more.

County commissioners said they likely won't even talk about putting the tax on the 2008 ballot until November.

Gurley said he would like to see how the tax does in other counties. Brunswick, Chatham, Gates, Henderson, Hoke, Macon, Moore, Pender, Polk, Swain and Union counties have put the land transfer tax option on their 2007 ballots, according to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.

Davie, Graham, Harnett, Johnston and Rutherford counties are asking voters to approve both the land transfer tax and the quarter-cent sales tax.


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  • pleshy Sep 27, 2007

    It's ok Carlostheass (appropriate moniker), you looked at the numbers I posted from the Wake website, and they don't coincide with you argument, but support mine. So you decide to quit arguing and toss insults. Excellent choice. It's ok, I won't hold it against you.

    By the way, teachers who went to school to teach are doing. Lawyers who went to school to practice law, counldn't hack it, quit and now teach, can't do it. That is the underlying argument. Not all teachers are are failed professionals, but some failed professionals are now teachers. You do understand this, right? I mean it isn't taxes or rocket science.

  • whatusay Sep 27, 2007

    djofraleigh...I thought that was why we pay property taxes every year...every year...every year...

  • whatusay Sep 27, 2007

    I thought the lottery was to be the solution to NC Education System. Now we need to tax the sale of our property that we have paid taxes on every year. TAX TAX TAX TAX. Why not cut some of the un-needed positions in the state government, including the education system...Sure we could come up with a few million in savings there.

  • richard2 Sep 26, 2007

    Did you ever notice that everybody is for a tax that don't involve them? Any tax that singles out a select group is NOT a fair tax.

  • djofraleigh Sep 26, 2007

    Normally, I'm for lower property tax, but I'm for the tax especially when a NEW home is sold. In fact, this tax will save money for the homeowners who aren't selling they homes.

    Let it pay for the infrastructure needed to serve that home.

  • carlostheass Sep 26, 2007

    Sorry, Pleshy. I told you that I'm done. Fortunately for me I don't have to convince you of anything. And if you think I've insulted you by pointing out that I have given you all of the information you need to learn why you're wrong, then so be it. Nice touch insulting people you've never met with the shallow viewpoint that people teach because they themselves are incompetent. I hope there are no educators reading your posts. I have met very few that weren't very capable people who chose their profession to do some good in the world (novel, huh?). Yet because your arguments lack merit you toss insults based on prejudice against people for choosing education as their vocation. Classy. Well, as promised, I'm done with you. Good luck.

  • pleshy Sep 26, 2007

    Lawyers who teach, yes the very best example of "If you can, do, if you can't, teach." Those guys are great at writing "How to be a Register of Deeds" or "How to be a Notary" but couldn't litigate their way out of a wet paper bag. If you wish to merely toss insults, fine, but it demonstrates the fallacy of your arguments. If you want to convince someone, not merely me, look at the link from the County Tax assessor and explain how these calcs are actually revenue neutral, because it doesn't look that way to me.

  • pleshy Sep 26, 2007

    carlos - the basis was the first big number with the $ sign. The second number was the "per 100" and the third was the tax rate. So how is this not what your are talking about? I have presented this from the wake tax website, as demonstrated by the link below. So again, I don't get how a small number in 1997 and a bigger number in 1998 ad infinitum to 2006 is revenue neutral, especially when the tax rate - the levy - goes down. Just like I said always happens. And look, again like I said, a huge jump in real dollar revenue at the time of the reval. How does this occur in a revenue neutral system. By the way, I am not complaining about my share, which is likely larger than yours. I do dispute your hypothesis that, while the statute requires revenue nuetrality, the actual revenue goes up, regardless of the concommitant reduction in the tax rate (levy). Is this magic?

  • carlostheass Sep 26, 2007

    ...and once again Pleshy quotes TAX VALUES not TAXES. That is a TAX BASIS not a TAX. God bless your schoolteachers...

  • carlostheass Sep 26, 2007

    Pleshy, I'm done explaining this to you. I can assure you that a lot of people far brighter than you have proven yourself to be are reviewing this information for correctness, so if there's a government conspiracy to make you pay more than your fair share, then a lot of people out there must dislike you. To educate yourself on your own time and quit wasting ours, go read Article 14: Taxation and Article 15: Budget Preparation and Enactment. The former will explain the taxation system and the latter will explain the budgeting for revenue neutral tax rates. Good luck in your endeavor to continue convincing yourself that the world is out to get you via your tax bill. The link to the aforementioned articles is http://www.sog.unc.edu/pubs/cmg/. After you read it, feel free to argue with the Harvard-educated attorneys at the School of Government, who will tell you everything I just told you. Good day.