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Missouri REALTORS Face Setback but Vow to Keep Fighting Double Taxation

Dennis Norman

Previously I have written about an effort supported by the Missouri Association of REALTORS (MAR) to protect Missouri homeowners from facing double taxation through a real estate transfer tax by backing an effort to amend the Missouri Constitution to prohibit such a tax.  Unfortunately, after Missouri  citizens supported this initiative in overwhelming numbers, the effort was dealt a blow today when effort by the Missouri Secretary of State’s office announced its conclusion that  the Vote “YES” To Stop Double Taxation amendment did not receive enough signatures of registered voters to qualify for the ballot.

The Vote “YES” To Stop Double Taxation Committee believes there were adequate signatures on thousands of petitions submitted in May from across six of the state’s nine congressional districts and will file a lawsuit to get the proposal on the November 2 General Election ballot.  The lawsuit will ask the court to review the signature count conducted by local election authorities and the Secretary of State and declare them to be sufficient to bring this issue to the Missouri citizens in November.

“With the large volume of thousands of signatures of supportive voters and the deadline pressure scores of local election authorities faced to check the signatures, there will inevitably be mistakes, and we believe mistakes happened,” said Chuck Hatfield, attorney for the Vote “YES” To Stop Double Taxation Committee. Hatfield added that in past initiative petition campaigns, the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed voter signatures that had not been properly counted and subsequently ordered measures onto the statewide ballot, allowing voters to have their say.

“We owe it to the tens of thousands of Missouri voters who signed the petitions and worked hard on the issue’s behalf to go out and review the signatures and correct the mistakes,” Hatfield said. “We are committed to putting this important question before voters, so they have a chance to protect themselves from double taxation.”

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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