Dear Editor – Reasons to Vote No on Measure RE

Dear Editor,

I’m offering lots of reasons Measure RE makes no sense- vote no on Measure RE!  Keep your dirty mitts off my equity!

  1. Our real estate transfer taxes are already are double Beverly Hills and the Beach communities.  
  2. Just because the city needs the money is no reason to stick a gun to my head and pick my equity pocket!
  3. Nothing gives you the right to my equity!  
  4. I paid for my equity through my house payment over 30 years and my taxes and fees! 
  5. My property tax has tripled over that period!  I pay my fair share!  My property value also increased, and that has to do with lots of constant upgrades, improvements and maintenance spending.  It did not happen by itself!
  6. If I make a profit on the sale of my property, I pay capital gains taxes to the federal and state governments.  Some of that money is returned to our community.  Measure RE is like double dipping!  
  7. They now call this tax a Real Estate Transfer Tax.  Originally, it was called a Documentary Transfer Tax.  It was never intended as a an over-reaching exit tax to finance city government overspending.  It used to be relatively insignificant when prices were much lower and the tax was half of what it is now.  Measure RE will raise this tax over eight times on the very businesses that brought life and jobs to this community.
  8. You and I, not the city, are responsible for property values increasing in Culver City through hard work in the community volunteering and donating.  It is also through scarcity.  We just don’t have enough houses or land.
  9. The city has demonstrated that it has no self control when it comes to  spending our money on any non-essential program they like.  The city has chewed through, squandered millions of our reserve dollars.
  10. The city already makes money from Federal and State Capital Gains Taxes when a property is sold.  At these valuations, it is very significant.
  11. The tax is not shared equally with the people who use the services. Renters represent 45% of the population and especially now with rent control, they have been shielded from paying their fair share!  The Council would like you to think that people who rent are all poor and can’t afford to pay their fair share.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Most who rent do so because it is much cheaper than ownership. Taxes like these are part of the reason why.
  12. A Flipper is not a dirty word.  They provide a valuable service to our community!  This isn’t the old days anymore.  An average person cannot buy a cheap house and fix it themselves like we used to be able to do.  Homes bought by developers have serious problems.  A house built before 1954 has big problems if it has not been maintained.  It isn’t just a coat of paint.  It is failing sewer lines under the house, old damage by a faulty roof.  Toxic mold that requires professional remediation costing tens of thousands of dollars to fix, or hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace and rebuild.  Asbestos and lead paint remediation too!  By the way, remediation means expensive hazardous waste removal by professionals.  You can’t do that yourself!  You need clearance certificates.  Cracked foundations, termites.  Few buyers can buy a home, pay a mortgage, rent a place to stay before they can move in, and fund expensive repairs.  What buyers can better afford is a decent home with one reasonable down payment and a 30 year mortgage at lowest interest rates ever!
  13. Think about the big developers who build things like the Symantec build.  They just sold that building for $120m.  At today’s rate they paid over $500k in transfer tax.  Under Measure RE it would be almost $5m!!!  How fair is that to a company that brought 3k really good paying jobs to the community!  What gratitude!  No worries though, they won’t the mistake of investing in Culver City again.  Nor will anyone else!
  14. The average asking price for a single family home in Culver City is now a whopping $1,850,000!  The backers would like to include Condos to make it look like most people would not be affected, so you pick.  All I know is good luck to growing families who want to remain in Culver City and trade up to a single family home.  In the south bay ( whose current transfer tax is  half our current rate,) buyers split this tax  with the seller and we can expect that to happen here too!  By the time you sell it some years down the road, you will be paying the city tens of thousands of dollars if this passes.
  15. Sure the city claims they will reset the thresholds every five years, but by the CPI.  Your house is not a bag of groceries and I bet you that your house value goes up at a much higher rate than that.  Besides, a bag of groceries is under a hundred bucks.  At the current CPI of about 1%, who cares if the bag goes up $5 in five years.  My home has averaged 4.7% over 30 years.      
  16. Backers say Measure RE exempts property inheritance.  Half truth!  If your parents loved you enough to give it to you, I hope they gave you enough money to pay the tax because most people don’t move into their parent’s home.  They usually sell it, and when you do, you will pay this excessive tax.  
  17. There is no end to this tax!  When Covid is over, you will keep paying it at almost triple what it is today!  If you are a developer or large employer, you will get soaked for more than eight times the current rate, the most expensive transfer tax in our state!  And they don’t even get to vote on it!  Taxation without representation!  There goes the jobs!
  18. As you can see, this is way more than 10 reasons to VOTE NO on MEASURE RE!  I could probably fill the whole paper if I had the time.

 

Rich Kissel

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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