Polk board of realtors speaks out against real estate transfer tax

Published 3:39 pm Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The local realtors who are members of the Tryon/Polk Board of Realtors wholeheartedly support farmland preservation and open space conservation, and recognize that these principles greatly contribute to the overall quality of life that all citizens of Polk County enjoy. However, in a recent poll of the local realtors over 94 percent were opposed to the new transfer tax that will be considered on Nov. 4, 2008.

Here&squo;s why realtors oppose the transfer tax;

&ull; The transfer tax is a new tax that will be in addition to the property taxes and other taxes or fees that have already been paid on the property.

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&ull; There could be very minor exceptions to the tax, but every individual&squo;s real estate transaction would be taxable, even those selling to move into assisted living situations or for other financial emergencies.

&ull; Because this tax will be paid by the seller, it would impact the equity people have earned since owning their home. That is the equity people use as their nest egg, for retirement, for their children, or other purposes

&ull; This tax could be permanent and could someday be a burden for you your children or grandchildren. We should not pass a tax that could hurt our families now or down the road ‐ especially in the difficult economic times we are all currently experiencing.

&ull; The transfer tax has been proposed 21 times since November 2007 in other North Carolina counties and defeated every single time. Why should citizens in Polk County have to pay a tax that most other counties don&squo;t have to pay?

&ull; Currently in Polk County and North Carolina there is a county/state tax on all real estate sales rated at $2.00 per thousand on the sales price of the property, if this new transfer tax were applied the rate would then total $6.00 per thousand or triple the current rate.

&ull; There are no guarantees the transfer tax would always be used for farmland preservation, as the commissioners could now or in the future designate yearly that the funds be used for other projects. Possible legislation could be presented to permanently allow Polk County to use tax funds for farmland preservation, but at this time there are just no perpetual guarantees for these funds usage.

Polk County farmland can be preserved without a new tax.

&ull; The state has already set aside over $100 million of our tax dollars to preserve farmland for open space and for other similar purposes.

&ull; Polk County currently has over three times the amount required by state law in reserves that could be used to fund farmland preservation.

&ull; The Polk County leadership should use the money they have on hand now or go to Raleigh and request Polk&squo;s fair share of the money that&squo;s already in place for farmland preservation.

You are not alone in feeling that nationally this has been one of the most difficult years financially that we&squo;ve had in a long time. So the idea of a new tax that Polk County is considering just makes no sense. The Polk County realtors and many other residents realize that there&squo;s a need to preserve our farmland, but before voting for a new transfer tax please consider there are other alternatives to preserving our quality of life and achieve farmland conservation.

When this election is over, your local realtors promise to work proactively with our government or civic leaders toward developing other reasonable alternatives to farmland preservation that can ensure that Polk County farmland will be protected and our quality of life preserved without a new transfer tax.

Thank you for seriously considering there are other fairer alternatives to funding farmland preservation when you vote on Nov. 4!

Submitted by

Tryon/Polk Board of Realtors