NYSAR guide for local boards fighting real estate transfer taxes

Who supports real estate taxes for community preservation?

The issue of “community preservation” is a top priority among land preservation advocates, environmentalists and farmland preservation organizations.  These organizations are very well funded and extremely organized.  When working together in support of a transfer tax for “community preservation,” they form a significant opponent.

In general these organizations view a real estate transfer tax as a one-time “impact fee” that will provide a revenue stream for the preservation of “community character”.   Further, they believe that transfer taxes for “community preservation” will result in an increase in property values and will not affect a seller’s ability to sell their house.

Below is small sample of known organizations that support the imposition of real estate transfer taxes for “community preservation” projects and text in support of these taxes from their respective websites.

Environmental Advocates of New York 
“In 1998, several Long Island towns pioneered the use of Community Preservation Funds...Supported by locally generated revenue from a modest real estate transfer tax, the towns have generated more than $300 million to protect natural areas, working farms, and historic heritage.”

New York League of Conservation Voters
“While the state legislature wraps up its session, Hudson Valley townships are calling for lawmakers to pass the Hudson Valley Community Preservation Act (HVCPA). The act would help Hudson Valley municipalities protect their local environments and historical heritage by letting communities decide whether or not to institute a property transfer tax. The NYLCV recognizes the twenty communities that have endorsed this bill along with Red Hook and Warwick, both of which have already received state approval for their own community preservation funds.”

New York State Farm Bureau 
“The proposed legislation seeks to provide another source of funding to protect our natural spaces in the Hudson Valley. It establishes the ability of any town in Ulster County to levy, with the approval of a local referendum, up to a 2-percent tax on the transfer or real property.”

Red Hook Community Preservation Alliance
“Existing home owners have paid local taxes for many years to build our infrastructure, including schools, roads and government buildings, and to develop the programs and services we all now enjoy.  Preserving Red Hook’s best environmental assets will require more than the funds authorized in the 2003 Purchase of Development Rights program ($3.5 million). We have already enjoyed the assistance of so many in matching funds (Scenic Hudson, New York State, Dutchess County) to name just a few. The transfer fee will give us a steady stream of funds that can be added to this important effort.”

Scenic Hudson

The Nature Conservancy

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