Political

Nov 9, 2011 3:02 AM by Jim Hummel

On the ballot: Amendment #1

On the November 19th ballot voters will find a statewide constitutional amendment: Proposed Amendment No. 1, which could have a big impact on those in the real estate market.

If approved, Amendment No. 1 would prohibit what are known as "transfer taxes," essentially new fees on the sale or transfer of homes or commercial property.

"Louisiana is one of only 13 states that do not have transfer taxes today," said Mandi Mitchell with Louisiana Realtors' "Stay Tax Free" campaign. The organization is backing the amendment after commissioning a study in 2010 about the potential impacts of transfer taxes on the Louisiana housing market.

"Just a 1% statewide transfer tax would have resulted in 55-hundred less homes purchased during that year because of the additional financial hurdle," said Mitchell.

In other states, the transfer taxes can be either flat rate fees or a percentage of the final sale price, and the money generated is used as a source of state revenue.

In Louisiana, transfer taxes are only assessed in Orleans Parish, where there is a flat rate fee added to each real estate transaction. While those fees are not widely assessed in the state, a "yes" vote on Amendment No. 1 would ensure that stays the same, while a "no" vote would leave open the possibility of the fee being introduced.

Opposition on this issue is hard to come by, in fact putting this issue on the ballot was approved unanimously by both the Louisiana house and senate this past spring.

Jim Hummel

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