The highest real estate transfer tax in the state?

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We live in extremely challenging times. So does the Culver City budget, again, but even more unfortunate is that our City Council only sees the need for more revenue for special pet projects and not essential services. Our city is not alone, and there is a big market out there to justify the actions that councils take. 

These days, our prized institutions have joined the ranks of paid consultants to help them get what they want under the guise of being objective. UCLA is the pay for play, so-called “studies” to justify the call for increased real estate transfer taxes. This is an almost secret tax. Most people are not aware of it until it is time to sell their home or business. You pay the transfer tax, or the city won’t release it to the buyer. 

Culver City already has the highest transfer tax in the county, about double what most other cities charge, yet they now have found a way to boost it up to eight times more than any other city in the state! UCLA handed them a report in July that is loaded with false, one-sided assumptions that help them justify this outrageous scheme. Under the veil of the COVID-19 tragedy, and the cloak of challenges for the public to comment, the council pushed this through in less than 30 days. You will see it as a ballot measure on Nov. 3. They categorize it as a “general tax” so that it only requires a simple majority to pass, and so they can use the money for any discretionary spending on pet projects they choose. 

This tax attacks the young and the old, renters and owners, buyers and sellers, residential and commercial. Everyone will be affected by this in the rents and mortgages they pay. It will affect us all with higher prices for homes and apartments, as well as all goods and services. Development and improvement of older properties will screech to a halt as we watch our city become less desirable to home buyers, renters, and businesses. You will hear the big sales pitch again. They will say we need more money, and this targets the rich. Don’t be fooled. It targets everyone.

— Rich Kissel

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