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Seriously Sacramento? Senate OK's Real Estate Fee

by Jeff Powers, published

California is one of the least affordable states to live. And it appears it's about to get a little more expensive for residents.

Rolling back regulations for developers is a path the legislature could have taken to make building homes more cost effective. But the California State Senate instead passed a bill that will tax real estate transaction documents.

The new fee is expected to generate between $200 and $300 million for affordable housing.

The legislation, authored by Senator Toni Atkins of San Diego, would impose a minimum of$75 fee on documents such as deeds and notices, with a cap of $225 per transaction.

It passed 27-12 with all Democratic votes, and now heads to the Assembly.

Affordable housing is a serious issue in California, with prices reaching all-time highs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Lawmakers are pushing a series of bills aimed at spurring more building of low-cost housing.

Atkins said, "When you use this money to build more housing, you generate more income, more tax, more jobs, and it helps spur the economy. This will make a difference for middle income families."

Republican opponents disagreed, saying it would hurt middle class people trying to buy homes.

"I want to solve that problem, but I can't do it on the backs of the emerging people who have worked hard, trying to get their first house or move their family into a home that would accommodate their growing family," said Senator Joel Anderson.

Several Republicans said the Legislature should roll back regulations on housing construction instead of passing Atkins' bill.

A number of housing bills are advancing through the Legislature, but none have passed both houses and secured Brown's signature.

Photo Credit: SukanPhoto /

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