Vote YES on BET #1

10/07/05 - The Buyer's Excise Tax - Saving Farmland

We just read a scary article in today's Peninsula Daily News saying that local realtors are bringing in outside, professional canvassers to try and defeat the Buyer's Excise Tax, Proposition 1. Realtors get 6% for every house sold, so more houses are their livelihood. The Buyer's Excise Tax (BET) is 1/2%, and it goes to preserving farm land and open space in Clallam County. Anyone reading this web site over the years realizes that we are big fans of local agriculture, but there are more solid, financial reasons to support the BET.

The Sequim area, in particular is being heavily developed. There is a new monster Walmart, a new Home Depot, and other stores coming in, and so is more residential development. All of this creates the demand for new services. The roads will need continuing upgrades as traffic increases, older people will need more paratransit and new clinics, younger people will need more schools, and more people and traffic mean more police officers. Property taxes are going to go up.

All this growth is going to change the character of the area. People who already live in the area, and people who move here in the near future, will start noticing that they bought and paid to live in one place, and now they seem to be living elsewhere. We can't stop change, but we can ameliorate its effects. The BET provides funding for doing this. Instead of taxing existing owners with increased property taxes, it is paid for by people moving in, the agents of change. They are already paying the realtors 6%, so one half of one percent is only a small increment. It is probably less than they pay for title insurance.

We used to live in the Boston area, so we have seen how well the BET and similar taxes work. They do preserve farmland and open spaces, and they also keep property values higher. People who choose to move to the community get what they paid for, and this makes the area more desirable. Everyone does well, including the realtors. They may lose a bit on volume, but they make it up with higher home prices.


Keywords: politics