Thank you all so much for being here this morning.
I'd like to start off by defining who we are. We are almost 4,000 members of PGCAR. We are your neighbors. We live in your constituents' neighborhoods. We have sold your neighbors' homes, and sometimes your homes too. We are advocates for homeownership and all which that brings, both to the coffers and to the culture of our beautiful county. But we are also advocates for homeowners, for home buyers and home sellers. And it is with them in mind that I tell you the following:
Our old nemesis is back - a transfer tax increase! This time we are facing a mandatory 1.5% tax.
With the passage of this legislation, we would have the highest local transfer tax in the state of Maryland, tied with Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
Even if you look at the transfer tax combined with local recordation costs, your constituents' settlement costs would be higher than any other jurisdiction except Baltimore City and County. Every jurisdiction which abuts Prince George's County already has lower closing costs and passing this legislation would make the difference greater. Please allow me to remind you that, several years ago, when the transfer tax was bumped to 1.5% from 1 percent we were promised it would be lowered back to 1 percent. The tax was lowered to 1.4% and it remains there. That promise was never fulfilled.
The number of homes sold has gone up, the prices have gone up, the amount collected in transfer, recordation and property taxes has gone up. Our industry is the only industry that is driving this economy right now.
We just want to keep selling homes. We'll keep bringing revenue into the county. We don't want to have the highest closing costs; it's not a good message to send to your constituents, it's not a good message to send to people who want to move into the county. We ask for your support in defeating the transfer tax increase.
Note: Shortly after the Legislative Breakfast, this legislation was withdrawn. Thank you for your support in this effort.
See photos from the 2004 Legislative Breakfast.