On the Ballot: Property Transfer Tax
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On the Ballot: Property Transfer Tax

Date: October 5, 2010
By: Sherman Fabes
State Capitol Bureau

Amendment Three on the November ballot would block government from imposing a tax on real estate sales.
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Wrap:Sharon Keating is the co-owner of REMAX Jefferson City, and has been in the real estate business for more than 25 years.

She says voting "yes" for the ban of property transfer taxes, or Amendment Three, is necessary to prevent high future taxes.

Actuality:  KEATING1.WAV
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Description: "It's a slippery slope. We just don't want it to get started in Missouri and have it start low and then continue to move up as government needs more money to function."

This amendment to the constitution would not allow the state legislature to ever tax the transfer of property.

All of Missouri's eight surrounding states have a transfer tax with Tennessee's being the highest at 37 cents for every 100 dollars the property sells for.

That's 370 dollars for a 100 thousand dollar home.

Tennessee Realtor, Marcie Sweet,said the benefit of the transfer tax is the county and state governments having more money to spend on other things.

The Missouri Association of Realtors is the main supporter of Amendment three.

President of the organization, Elizabeth Mendenhall doesn't think the money that would benefit the government would help Missourians themselves.

Actuality:  MENDEN4.WAV
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Description: "And in this economy, when people are losing their jobs, many people have suffered a loss in income tax and an additional tax on income tax, could certainly affect somebody's ability to own their home and achieve the American dream."

Keating says without Amendment three, in these tough economic times, the government will eventually look to homeowners to shoulder the responsibility of producing extra revenue.

That means they'll pay higher taxes.

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Description: "It would be a devastating blow to an already weak real estate economy."

A property transfer tax would be collected by a county, city, or state government whenever somebody buys or receives property.

Whether the transfer of property is between a buyer and seller, a contractor and developer, or a family member to their heir, the tax imposed could potentially be a hefty amount of money.

Actuality:  KEATING8.WAV
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Description: "Your average home owner who's not a very wealthy person, most of our homeowners will be low to middle income and they are struggling to make their payments and pay their taxes as it is."

Keating says it's not only the average home owner who will be affected.

It's everyone.

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Description: "This one's 165."
Long time realtor, Greg Harmon, while showing a 17 hundred square foot home in Columbia, explained how house prices are decided on.
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Description: "When we list a house, it typically, if it's listed for the correct price, it will typically bring in 97 percent of what we're asking for. That is a market average. So on this particular house, theres about a three percent markup in it."

Harmon says that the transfer tax will especially hurt first time buyers.

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Description: "The equity wouldn't be as big in this house. Somebody that maybe could buy this house as a first home and have something to hang their hat on after they close on it, that nut is all of a sudden smaller."

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The Realtors initiative, "Vote Yes, to Stop Double Taxation" has gained steam recently.

Donors have given millions of dollars in support of the ballot measure.

Actuality:  MENDEN2.WAV
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Description: "37 states have a transfer tax and we wanna make sure Missouri is not the 38th state to have a tax."

St. Louis County Republican Representative Mike Leara says the tax ban has support in the Missouri statehouse.

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Description: "There are already transfer fees and title registration and things of that nature, any additional fees, is totally unnecessary."

Leara says Missouri has to act now.


Actuality:  LEARA3.WAV
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Description: "I believe there has been discussion of this and it is just preempting any future attempts to tax transfer of title."

There is no organized public opposition to the measure.

The Secretary of State's office almost did not allow the ban to be put on the November ballot because the petition's signatures were under contention.

The Realtors Association, Leara, and many others say they expect the ballot measure to pass overwhelmingly.

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Description: "(Door shut and locked)"

From Jefferson City, I'm Sherman Fabes