Correcting misinformation on Measure RE and its tiers

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You published a letter from Karen Dolce saying that the tax on a sale of a $1,500,000 home would be $25,150 because of Measure RE.  This is not true!  According to the actual language of the proposed law, the tax imposed is based on “0.45% of the amount of consideration or value of $1,499,999 or less; and 1.5% of the amount of consideration or value from $1,500,000 to $2,999,999…”  

Since the City’s Real Estate Transfer Tax is already 0.45% for every sale, the additional tax imposed on a sale of $1,500,000 by Measure RE would be one point zero five cents (an extra 1.05% on the last dollar of the sale).  I’m not a math expert, but I don’t believe Ms. Dolce’s calculations are anywhere near the truth.

The City’s two biggest sources of revenues from 2018-2019 were from Sales Tax and Business Tax.  Sadly, retail and business in Culver City have been decimated because of the COVID/Trump recession.  That means the City’s revenues for the next few years will be lower and therefore City expenses toward services will be lower.   If the City does not find new sources of revenue fast, services like police, fire, and parks & rec will be defunded out of the necessity to balance a budget.  Stop the defunding of City services and Vote Yes on Measure RE.

Marc Bauer, Culver City Finance Advisory Committee Member

Regarding the letter to the editor from Karen Dolce concerning Measure RE that appeared in the Oct. 8 edition of the Culver City News, there is incorrect and misleading information contained in the article that needs to be corrected, irrespective of how one feels about Measure RE.  

The article states that for a real estate sale of $1,500,000, the current transfer tax would be $8,400 (0.45% of the sale price) which is correct, but that if Measure RE passes, the tax would be $25,140 – this is grossly incorrect!

For a sale of $1,500,000, the transfer tax under Measure RE would be only one cent more than the current tax level.  This is because, under Measure RE, the tax rates applied to real estate sales would be applied on a “marginal’ or tiered basis just like income tax rates, with the current 0.45% rate applied to sales of amounts up to $1,499,999; 1.5% on amounts from $1,500,00 to $2,999,999; 3% on amounts from $3,000,000 to $9,999,999 and 4% on amounts $10,000,000 and above. 

Please reference the City Attorney’s Impartial Analysis of Measure RE that appears in your Official Sample Ballot.

For example, a real estate sale of $2,000,000 under the current ordinance would result in a tax of $9,000 based on a flat tax rate of 0.45% multiplied by the sales price of $2,000,000.  Under Measure RE, the transfer tax would be $14,250 comprising $6,750 on the first $1,499,999 at 0.45% and $7,500 on the next $500,001 at 1.5%.  Using this example of a $2,000,000 sale, the tax increase would be $5,250 compared to the current transfer tax.

In addition, the letter to the editor states that the Culver City Council is “trying to slip this through without the Homeowners even being aware of it in most cases”.  Let’s be fair about this; this measure is on the ballot precisely to make voters aware of this proposal and to allow residents to vote on it! 

Mitchell Blake

The opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor do not reflect the opinions of the Culver City News. If you would like to share your opinion in a future issue, send your letter to associateeditor@culvercitynews.org, and it will be considered for publication. All submitted materials, including Letters to the Editor, will be subject to editing for space, libel, and obscenity.