星期五, 3月 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


              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)

             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。







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.