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Letter of the Day: A regressive tax

  • The new Series 2006 $20 currency notes, bearing the signatures of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Anna Escobedo, treasurer of the United States, are seen at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, Monday, Oct. 23, 2006. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

<b>A regressive tax</b>

EDITOR: You supported SB 391, which imposes a $75 fee on the recording of real estate documents to finance housing projects previously funded by redevelopment ("Phantom income, taxes and politics," Editorial, Monday). Although affordable housing is needed in California, imposing a new fee on almost all real estate documents is wrong.

This is nothing more than a new tax that will drive up the cost of many transactions. The documents for which this $75 fee would be charged include "every real estate instrument, paper, or notice required or permitted by law to be recorded," except transfers subject to a documentary transfer tax. If you refinance, there would be at least $225 in new fees to record the deed of trust and a reconveyance of the prior deed of trust and for the lender to record a request for notice of default. The fee would be charged for quit claim deeds, homestead declarations, notices of completion, substitutions of trustees, notices of default and many other routine documents. Since the fee is the same regardless of the value of the property or loan involved in the transaction, it would be a greater burden on lower income persons.

The tax funds lost by the redevelopment agencies are still being received elsewhere. There is no reason why existing taxes cannot be used to fund affordable-housing projects.

DENNIS BYRNE

Sebastopol


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