I have spent the last couple of days visiting Harrisburg for a Government Affairs Seminar sponsored by the state association, PAR. I found it very interesting and intend to post some blogs over the next few days on different issues. However, what had motivated me to go and become more involved was the constant news that State Government was considering increasing the Realty Transfer Tax.
Whilst it is not in Governor Rendell's Budget, it is in three counter proposals in varying degrees, but these also allow local municipalities to also increase the tax as well.
We met with several Representatives and Senators to put our point accross which is
- The PA Realty Transfer Tax is already one of the highest in the country, only Delaware, the District of Columbia, New Hampshire and Washington state are higher.
- The PA Realty Transfer Tax exceeds that of 6 of our neighboring states.
- The transfer tax has a very narrow base because it is a tax on a single item, the value of property when ownership is transferred from one party to another.
- The transfer tax is regressive and fails to take account for the fact that lower income home owners spend a higher percentage of their income on housing than do higher income households.
- The transfer tax is highly volatile and dependant upon market conditions, just in quarter 3 for 2006 under the current rate tax income fell by about $23 million as the market declined.
- Transfer tax is a barrier to home ownership.
I also feel an increase will make the state less apppealing to businesses that recruit executives or transfer executives here for short periods of say three to five years. Another point raised today is that a raise will affect the passing on of farms to children as the property is more highly taxed.
Please make your voice heard, write to your representative to not allow any increase in the Realty Transfer Tax and to look for broader based tax alternatives.
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