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Court rules in favor of group working to prevent transfer tax

Dennis Norman

Earlier this month I wrote about a set-back in an effort to give Missourian’s a an opportunity in November to prevent the possibility of double taxation by voting to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting transfer taxes or fees on the transfer of real estate.  The effort, which had the full support and backing of the Missouri Association of REALTORS, hit a road block when the Secretary of State’s office did not certify that enough signatures were obtained to put the issue on the ballot in November.

The group behind the effort, the “Vote YES To Stop Double Taxation Committee” vowed to fight to get the issue on the ballot and, after receiving the notice from the Secretary of State’s office, immediately filed a law suit asking the courts to affirm that there were in fact enough signatures gathered and to order the Secretary of State to place the issue on the ballot.

Just a short while ago, Cole County Circuit Judge Paul Wilson ruled that the proposed state constitutional amendment barring transfer taxes on real estate received enough petition signatures from registered voters to appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

“There is no dispute that enough registered voters signed the initiative. The Vote ‘YES’ To Stop Double Taxation Committee showed conclusively in court that thousands of valid voter signatures were incorrectly thrown out by election authorities. We stood up for the rights of these voters to be counted, and the court has supported the rights of voters to be counted,” said attorney Chuck Hatfield, who represented the campaign committee during several days of hearings.

The Vote “YES” To Stop Double Taxation Committee submitted tens of thousands of voter signatures on petitions to place the amendment on the ballot. However, the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office announced its conclusion that the proposal did not receive enough signatures of registered voters to qualify for the ballot.

The court victory means the Vote “YES” To Stop Double Taxation Committee will move ahead with a strong educational campaign for Missourians about the unfairness of transfer taxes. Transfer taxes on home sales are double taxation because Missourians already pay annual property taxes on real estate, often over many decades of ownership.

Missouri is among just 13 states that do not impose a transfer tax on real estate sales, including all of Missouri’s neighboring states. As state, county and city revenues decline, politicians are tempted to impose new transfer taxes – just as Missouri citizens are struggling to make it.

The proposed state constitutional amendment’s language is straightforward and simple:

“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prevent the state, counties, and other political subdivisions from imposing any new tax, including a sales tax, on the sale or transfer of homes or any other real estate?”

The proposed amendment is sponsored by the 21,000-member Missouri Association of REALTORS®, which wants to keep Missourians from being saddled with unfair double taxation that can destroy the American dream of home ownership.

Learn more about the amendment at www.YesToSaveHomes.com

 

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