The Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants last week launched the Financial Literacy for Newcomers Program

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors said in a statement released Monday it will formally oppose Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to increase real estate transfer taxes by 50 percent in order to fund climate change resiliency projects.

Under Baker’s plan, the excise rate will increase from $2 per $500 of assessed value to $3 per $500 of value. It would generate an estimated $137 million each year and $1 billion over the next decade to protect properties and help cities and towns cope with climate change impacts.

MAR called the proposal, Senate bill S.10, was a “flawed approach” that would make the state’s housing crisis worse by increasing home prices and provide unstable funding if home prices fall.

“Realtors are for climate resiliency and we praise the governor for addressing it, but we strongly oppose paying for it by imposing a transfer tax on a small population of home buyers and sellers,” 2019 MAR President Anne Meczywor said in a statement. “Our state is in a housing crisis and creating additional barriers to entry for real estate ownership will not only make the situation worse, but also won’t produce the tax revenue the governor is hoping for.”

MAR has previously criticized Baker’s proposal in a column in Banker & Tradesman and in testimony on Beacon Hill. The proposal has also been criticized by Citizens for Limited Taxation and by business group A Better City.

Instead of the transfer tax, the association said in its statement it would lobby for a rival bill, H.3846, backed by House Speaker Bob DeLeo. The bill uses borrowing to generate a similar amount of money to fund installation of solar grids, electric vehicle charging stations, resiliency infrastructure and more.

“Speaker DeLeo introduced a plan that is both innovative and equitable, which is the appropriate approach to address climate change,” Meczywor, a broker/associate at Roberts & Associates Realty Inc. in Lenox, said in a statement. “Every resident of our state will benefit from climate resiliency, so it’s only fair that we all share in the responsibility to pay for it. The speaker’s plan does that.”

MAR Comes Out Against Real Estate Tax to Fund Climate Change Resiliency

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 1 min