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Washington REALTORS® Oppose New Taxes, Protect Economy

By HOM Editorial Team
April 2015
Washington Capitol

The Washington Capitol building.

A vibrant real estate market is inextricably intertwined with a healthy economy. It is difficult, if not impossible, to have one without the other. For this reason, the Washington REALTORS® Association has taken on a leading role in the Recover Washington coalition that opposes proposed taxes that would threaten the state’s economy and housing market.

Washington’s governor recently proposed two new taxes — a cap and trade program and a capital gains tax — with the stated goal of raising funds needed for funding public education. Both would harm consumers and hamper economic growth.

The capital gains tax would directly impact everyday Washington residents, who would have to pay capital gains on the sale of certain assets, including, in some cases, the sale of a home. Under the governor’s proposed new tax, a homeowner would have to pay capital gains taxes if the profit from the sale of his or her home were more than $250,000. Such taxes discourage the sale of assets, which in turn is linked to decreased availability of capital and the slowing of economic growth.

The cap-and-trade tax would require companies that exceed a carbon emissions cap to either buy carbon permits from the state — in essence, a tax — or from other companies. The program is directed at businesses, but consumers would end up paying. When utilities are taxed, they are likely to pass that cost on to homeowners who will pay in the form of increased rates.

Recover Washington is engaged in an educational campaign to help consumers and legislators understand the true costs of these proposed taxes and the negative impacts they would have on the state’s economic and housing-market recovery. The campaign also highlights alternative ways of funding education without putting further burdens on the economy.

The Recover Washington initiative has already been successful in defeating similar proposals in 2013 and the Washington REALTORS® Association is optimistic that it will have similar success in opposing these new taxes and helping to keep the state’s economy and housing market healthy for current and prospective homebuyers.

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