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Friday, March 04, 2022

波士頓市長吳弭簽署房屋轉手費家規法 200萬元起徵 州長不支持

 Boston Mayor Michelle Wu signed the Transfer Fee ordinance. (photo by Chutze Chou)

             (Boston Orange 周菊子波士頓報導) 波士頓市長吳弭 (Michelle Wu) 34日在數十名支持者圍觀中,簽署了「房地產交易轉讓費 (Transfer Fee) 」的波士頓家規法條例。這條例必須經由州議會投票通過,以及麻州州長簽署,才能正式實施。

 Boston Mayor Michelle Wu
             麻州州長查理貝克已在非正式場合中表態不支持這做法。

             吳弭提出的這家規法,要向交易價200萬元以上的房屋徵收2%的轉手費,並且只對200萬元以後的數額徵收規費,由賣家支付,所得費用將存入鄰里住宅信託。波士頓市府估計,這麼做可為波士頓市帶來數以億元計的額外收入,可用於擴大資助建造可負擔住宅經費。

              根據波士頓市2021年的房屋銷售紀錄,2%的規費,將可為波士頓市帶來9970萬元。波士頓市房屋長Sheila A. Dillion透露,在2021年時,波士頓市內約有704戶住宅價格在200萬元以上。受此法案影響的人數因此相當有限。

 Boston Mayor Michelle Wu with elected officials. (Photo by Chutze Chou)
             波士頓市並不是第一次推動這法案,二年前馬丁華殊(Martin Walsh)還是市長時,也曾提交過類似法案,當時提議向售價100萬元以上的房屋徵收轉手費。

State Senator Lydia Edwards with ACDC ED Angie Liu, CPA ED Karen Chan. (Photo by 
Chutze Chou)
             4日在簽署法令現場的亞美社區發展協會主任劉安琪,華人前進會主任陳玉珍都支持這一法令,希望波士頓市能因此有更多錢可以濟助地方建造可負擔住宅。陳玉珍並說明,吳弭市長的「房地產交易轉讓費」修訂版,不但把起徵金額提高的200萬元以上,而且訂有適用於耆英等的豁免條款。

             通常對還在進行中法令提案不多表態的麻州州長查理貝克 (Charlie Baker),日前卻公開表示不贊同波士頓市長吳弭的這一行動。他甚至質疑吳弭提出這法令的時機,聲稱聯邦政府在這一、二年間才撥發出數以億元計款項,地方政府手中應該有很多錢可以用。他也呼籲麻州議會資助經費不足的各項房屋計畫,包括支援首次購屋者等等。

         4日早上有7名州市議員到位於麥特潘的老人屋,支持吳弭市長簽署這法令。包括剛當選麻州參議員,現在仍同時擔任波士頓市議員的Lydai Edwards,以及麻州眾議員Brandy Fluker OakleyRob Consalvo,波士頓市議員Ricardo ArroyoKendra Lara等人。

           波士頓市提出的家規法,還要求讓低收入耆英經由修訂的41C項目條款,擴大物業稅減免額。

               41C項目為65歲以上自住耆英提供稅費援助,提案則要求把免稅額從1000元提高到1500元,總減免額可因此從2000元提高到3000元。另外再把原本的固定收入限制改成已地區中為收入的50%,然後把資產限制額度增加加倍。

               一旦州政府通過波士頓市申請的這家規法,相關條例將從2023會計年度開始實施,該年的收入限額將從單身人士24,911元調升至47,000元,負負從37,367元調升為53,700元。資產限額將從單身人士的4萬元增至8萬元,夫婦從55千元增至11萬元。

               波士頓市政府表示。波士頓市內現有大約4,600名擁有住宅的耆英,符合41C項目的繳稅減免資格。


 

MAYOR WU SIGNS TRANSFER FEE HOME RULE PETITION TO FUND AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND PROVIDE TAX RELIEF FOR SENIORS

Fees On Property Sales Over $2 Million Will Provide Substantial Funding For Affordable Housing Including Property Tax Relief for Low-Income Seniors
BOSTON - Friday, March 4, 2022 - Today, Mayor Michelle Wu joined State Representative Brandy Fluker Oakley, local elected officials, and residents to sign a home rule petition to implement a transfer fee of up to two percent on real estate sales of $2 million or more in the City of Boston. If passed by the Massachusetts Legislature and signed by the governor, the fee will generate nearly a hundred million dollars annually to create and preserve affordable housing in Boston and reduce property taxes for qualified low-income senior homeowners. The legislation is sponsored by State Representative Fluker Oakley. The Home Rule Petition passed the Boston City Council Wednesday.

“Boston’s most pressing challenge is our housing crisis, which has been pushing families out of our city and deepened even more with the pandemic. As we see the transformational impact of federal funding for our recovery, it’s clear that Boston needs a reliable funding source to focus on housing affordability and keep families and seniors in their homes,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m grateful to Council colleagues for partnering on this urgent issue and many colleagues who have shepherded this issue in previous sessions. I look forward to working closely with our state partners on next steps.”

Through the legislation, the first $2 million of the sales price on a home in Boston would be exempt from the fee. For real estate sales over $2 million, the fee collected will be paid by the seller. The funds generated will be allocated to the Neighborhood Housing Trust. The Neighborhood Housing Trust creates new affordable housing and preserves existing affordable housing. Based on 2021 sales in Boston, a two percent fee would have raised an estimated $99.7 million, and would have only affected approximately 700 transactions. Similar proposals were filed in 2019 and 2021. 

“I am so excited to see Mayor Wu and the Boston City Council taking action to make housing in Boston more affordable for seniors,” said State Rep. Brandy Fluker Oakley. “I have met with and testified before the City Council about the need for large developers of luxury apartments to pay their fair share, which would allow us to expand property tax exemptions for seniors on a fixed income and make housing in Boston more affordable.”

Some transfers between family members are exempt from the fee, and the City of Boston may adopt additional exemptions for economically vulnerable populations, affordable housing developments, deed-restricted housing, owner-occupant homeowners, beneficiaries of a city-approved homebuyer program, or others.

“This bill is about housing stability,” said State Senator and City Councilor Lydia Edwards. “This is a great opportunity for our city. It balances raising revenue with granting relief for our seniors.”

"Today Boston is taking a major step to ensure we have adequate funds to create and preserve affordable housing, and to provide much needed tax relief to our seniors who have dedicated their lives to our great City,” said City Councilor Kendra Lara. “As we combat the housing crisis and recover from the pandemic, we must protect our seniors who have been bearing the brunt of the impacts of both displacement and COVID-19. I look forward to working with our colleagues at the state house to get this passed."

The home rule petition also seeks to expand property tax relief for low-income seniors by modifying the eligibility criteria for the 41C program and increasing the exemption. These changes will modernize the criteria and provide much-needed financial assistance to a vulnerable population. 
 
The 41C program provides tax assistance to residents 65 years or older who are owner-occupants. Specifically, this legislation would:
 
  • Increase the minimum exemption from $1,000 to $1,500, and the total possible exemption from $2,000 to $3,000; and
  • Broaden eligibility by replacing the fixed income limits with the 50% Area Median Income figure and doubling the asset limit levels.
 
These changes would take effect for the Fiscal Year 2023, and the income limits for that year would increase from the current $24,911 to $47,000 for single individuals and $37,367 to $53,700 for a couple. The asset limits would increase from $40,000 to $80,000 for single individuals, and from $55,000 to $110,000 (the asset limits exclude the value of the applicant’s home).

Currently, approximately 4,600 Boston senior homeowners are income-eligible for the 41C tax exemption. The legislation will expand eligibility to approximately 8,700 senior homeowners. Nearly half of those senior homeowners are severely housing cost-burdened, paying more than 50 percent of their income to housing costs.
Ultimately, the City of Boston will have the ability to determine the final rate for the fee, collection method, and any exemptions that may exist. 

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