Measure 79 would ban any new real estate transfer fees or taxes.
Existing law already prohibits local governments from imposing new real estate transfer taxes. But Washington County has a tax grandfathered in.
Jon Coney, the spokesman for the Yes on Measure 79 campaign, says real estate transfer fees are a real barrier to home ownership.
“Property owners, home owners, commercial property owners, they already pay property taxes,” Coney says. “That’s a big funding source in Oregon. So yet another taxing mechanism on top of that really becomes this form of double taxation. The other thing about them is that real estate transfer tax can be at a state wide level can be a relatively modest one percent , but then you can get localities. You can get cities, counties special districts that can then layer on top of that so then all of a sudden it really starts to pile up.”
The measure is backed by some real estate firms that don’t want other counties to follow Washington County’s lead. But Ryan Dekert of the Oregon Business Alliance, says his group is opposing it.
“We just kind of believe that taking something completely off the board, that’s already prohibited by state law… and putting it in the constitution is one that we ought to oppose,” Deckert says.
The real estate tax measure is on the November ballot.