2015 Key Legislative REALTOR® Priorities
Do No Harm to Real Estate Transactions and Small Business
Washington’s real estate industry is stable, but still fragile – especially outside of King County. Rates of homeownership are at historically low levels and many homeowners have yet to recover home equity lost in the recession. Washington’s tax code is regressive for small businesses like REALTORS®. REALTORS® currently pay B&O tax at the highest regular rate in the state. Additionally, Washington’s real estate excise tax (REET) is levied on sellers at a higher rate than almost every other state. Tax increases on small service businesses or a new capital gains on real estate will harm the real estate industry, homeowners, and the state’s economy.
Provide Transportation and Infrastructure Funding
Washington’s citizens and businesses continue to struggle with traffic conditions that hurt our economy and degrade our quality of life. REALTORS® support a statewide transportation funding package that includes gas tax revenues dedicated to priority transportation projects as well as reforms to improve the use of transportation funds. Basic infrastructure funding through the Public Works Trust Fund must be provided for projects that will promote economic growth and public health.
Extend Current Funding for Washington Center for Real Estate Research
The Washington Center for Real Estate Research (WCRER), part of the University of Washington’s Runstad School of Real Estate Studies, provides research services on a variety of housing and real estate issues. The WCRER is funded through a $10 surcharge on all real estate licensees in Washington State, which expires on September 30, 2015 and must be extended.
Reform Local and State School Levy Funding
The Supreme Court’s McCleary decision held that our state’s education funding system relies too heavily on local school district levies rather than state funding. REALTORS® consistently support school property tax levies, and supported the constitutional amendment allowing school levies to be passed with 50% approval. REALTORS® support revenue neutral reforms in the structure of state and local property tax levies to comply with McCleary and to achieve a more balanced and predictable method of funding basic education for all school districts.