Gov. Brown: ‘Transfer taxes’ can fund affordable housing


The resolution would exempt the first $500,000 of a property's value from taxation

Governor Kate Brown in 2015 (Photo credit Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Governor Kate Brown is looking to real estate transfer taxes as a way to raise money for affordable housing programs with a new piece of legislation.

The move would reverse course on the decision made by Oregon voters eight years ago when the state’s housing market was in turmoil. In 2012, voters decided the state should not impose taxes when real estate changes hands. Now, with property values skyrocketing–contributing to Oregon’s homelessness crisis–Brown wants voters to reconsider, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Real estate transfer taxes are assessed when property changes ownership. House Joint Resolution 203 would exempt the first $500,000 of a property’s value from taxation, according to OPB.

Brown filed the resolution for the short legislative session that begins next week. It would exempt the first $500,000 of a property’s value from taxation. She has not proposed a tax rate nor set a goal for how much revenue she aims to raise, her office says.

Brown’s housing policy adviser told OBP the state does not have a dedicated source of funding to provide services to low-income housing programs outside of building and developing the actual structures.

In 2012, the passage of Measure 79 banned real estate transfer taxes from the state’s constitution.

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