EDITORIAL: VOTE YES ON CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NUMBER 1
The American Press (excerpt)
After having to wade through five proposed constitutional amendments last month, voters get a break with only one proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 19 ballot. The amendment seeks to ban any new taxes or fees on the sale of real estate in the state.
Currently, buyers and sellers of real estate pay closing costs that include fees for attorneys and title research. Fees are also commonly paid to a government agency or clerk of court for record keeping or other assistance with the transaction. In 36 states and the District of Columbia, the state or a local government agency charges a special conveyance tax or fee on a real estate transfer as a means of raising general revenue. The fee is generally known as a real estate transfer tax, or RETT, and is often calculated as a percentage of the property value or the loan amount and is charged to the buyer, the seller, or both. Mandi Mitchell, a spokesperson for the Louisiana Realtors organization, said that can amount to 1 percent to 3 percent on the value of the property or the value of the loan. In the case of the sale of a $300,000 home, that could mean an additional tax or fee of $9,000. According to the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (P.A.R.), only the city of New Orleans levies such a tax or fee on real estate transactions. The city charges $325 for a documentary transaction tax on all property transactions.
If approved by voters, Constitutional Amendment 1 would bar the levy of new taxes or fees by the state or local governments on the sale or transfer or real estate after Nov. 30, 2011. Thatís why we recommend a vote for Constitutional Amendment 1, which would squelch the idea of such a tax.