Election preview: to ban Louisiana real estate transfer taxes or not
- Related election news: Voters go to polls tomorrow in Louisiana for 25 state legislative races
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana: The last statewide ballot measure election for 2011 is only a day away. In the state of Louisiana, voters will decide whether to approve a constitutional amendment to ban real estate transfer taxes or retain the possibility for future taxes.
Known as the "real estate transfer tax," "immovable transfer tax" and more commonly as Amendment 1, the proposed measure would prohibit levying new taxes or fees upon the sale or transfer of immovable property.
The State of Louisiana is currently one of 13 states that does not have real estate transfer taxes. New Orleans is the only parish in the state with a transfer tax.
If the proposed amendment is approved, an amendment would be added to the state constitution banning real estate transfer taxes in the state. The New Orleans tax would be grandfathered and capped at the flat $325 rate for all property transfers. According to reports, the New Orleans tax generated $3.6 million in 2010 and is expected to generate $4.4 million in 2011.
The proposed measure is strongly supported by Louisiana REALTORS and related organizations. Gov. Bobby Jindal, according to his spokesperson, also supports the amendment. "We consider this a proactive step to place it in the constitution and take this off of the table," said Brad Lambert, a lobbyist for the group. Norman Morris, spokesperson for the group said, "If you look at the numbers, a 1 percent transfer tax can mean thousands of dollars. This type of tax is regressive in nature and targets a small group."
Opponents argue that the amendment will block future use of transfer taxes should the need arise to generate additional revenue. The provision, some say, may be unnecessary due to current state laws that require a two-thirds vote by the legislature to add a new state tax. Additionally, opponents say that there are other methods to reduce real estate fees such as reducing commissions or attorney fees. Opponents include the Council for a Better Louisiana, League of Women Voters of Louisiana and Louisiana Budget Project.
What does the ballot question ask?
The ballot question reads:
To prohibit the levy of new taxes or fees upon the sale or transfer of immovable property, including documentary transaction taxes or fees, or any other tax or fee, by the state or any of its political subdivisions after November 30, 2011.
- A "yes" vote on the ballot question meant that there would be no added taxes on real estate transfers and the state constitution would be amended to prohibit such future taxes.
- A "no" vote also would not implement taxes on real estate transfers but it would not implement a statewide ban.
More about Amendment 1
Other Louisiana Elections Coverage
- Houma Today, "Voters face one proposed amendment on ballot," November 14, 2011
- The Advocate, "Transfer tax ban on Nov. 19 ballot," November 12, 2011
- KTBS, "Constitutional amendment would ban real estate transfer tax," accessed November 16, 2011
- The News Star, "Representatives meet to discuss tax amendment," October 26, 2011
- Associated Press, "Constitutional amendment on Louisiana's Nov. 19 ballot would ban real estate tax," November 11, 2011
- Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, "PAR guide to the 2011 constitutional amendments," September 2011