Cape Gazette

Delaware transfer tax self-defeating

By J. Bruce Mears | Oct 21, 2012

The following is an open letter to Gov. Jack Markell with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.

As you know, the new home construction industry is in the worst nationwide slump since the great depression. The state's one percent and county's one-and-a-half percent transfer tax on property which has been owned less than 365 days is helping to kill the construction industries recovery in Sussex County and statewide.

How ridiculous is a transfer tax which isn’t owed 366 days after the lot was purchased. This transfer tax simply delays new home construction one year, resulting in fewer jobs, less materials sales and less home-oriented services which all generate tax revenue for the state and county. It also pulls money from our local economy and tax revenue because the lot owner doesn’t move to or vacation in Delaware or Sussex County for one year.

This is a self-defeating tax which causes the state and county to lose more than it gains. This repressive tax which has so many negative effects on our state and county needs to be repealed! I suggest replacing the transfer tax with a one-eighth percent tax on all building permits. I guarantee this small tax on all permits would far exceed the revenues created by the existing transfer tax. I also suggest consider assessing the tax as part of the building permit cost to avoid the same aggravated home consumers that I experience with the current state and county building permit transfer tax.

J. Bruce Mears
Ocean View

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