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Committee votes to triple recording fees to pay for homeless

Post by News Tribune Staff on April 14, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
April 14, 2009 1:55 pm

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 14-8, along party lines, to raise recording fees for real estate transactions to $30 from $10 to raise more money for the homeless programs.

Rep. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, said the recent economic downturn is likely to add 20,000 more people to the ranks of the homeless, so raising the fee is timely.

The fee increase is contained in House Bill 2331. Here’s the report that says how much money would be raised in 2009-11. It would be more than $20 million.

I haven’t checked this out yet, but I’m told the House budget raises a whole slew of fees, enough to bring in somewhere between $100 million and $200 million. It could be more. (See earlier post about health care professions fees.)

Rep. Gary Alexander of Olympia, top Republican on that committee, served notice that he plans to challenge that fee when the bill comes up for a vote by the full House because he believes it is a tax. A tax increase would take a two-third majority vote in favor to win approval. A fee hike needs only a simple majority.

Alexander said including all the other surcharges on recording fees, it now costs $62 to file a document, up from only $5 several years ago.

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