from Local Attorney, Michael H. Wasserman

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Save Public Transportation -> Buy a House !

Until this morning, few of us would have made a direct connection between the funding of public transportation in the metropolitan Chicago area and real estate conveyancing.

But now the link has been established and it spells bad news for anyone wanting to buy or sell real estate in the City of Chicago. Buyers about to absorb the brunt of yet another closing cost increase; a possible (likely) 40% increase in the amount of the City of Chicago Real Property Transfer Tax.

With just five days left until the 3rd public transit funding "doomsday" in the last six months, the cat has finally jumped out of the bag. This morning, we all woke to the news that the proposed transit "bail out" will be funded by a combination of local county sales tax increases, state general funds, and that transfer tax increase.

Never mind that the transfer tax is levied by a completely different body of government - the City of Chicago and not the State. We must all prepare for the coming reality: Its gonna cost an additional $1.50 for each $500 that buyers will pay for their Chicago properties to cover the transfer tax, $5.25 per $500 in all.

Some of our more outspoken alderman are in the news this morning posturing that they will not vote for the tax increase. But, even as unpalatable as it is, how can they do anything but pass the tax on to buyers? Aldermen are the closest elected officials to the CTA ridership and workers and local businesses who will be most severely effected by transit cuts. Chose your poison: who do you want to anger less - the masses who rely on transit daily, or the much smaller population of home buyers and sellers?