Home ownership is a cornerstone of safe, healthy and vibrant communities. It also influences the local business and economic climate.
Housing and home ownership has been hit hard by the economic downturn. Many Oregonians have lost their homes or been unable to purchase a home.
Measure 79 on the Nov. 6 ballot is a strategic step to protect homeowners from an additional tax on the sale or purchase of real estate. In past legislative sessions, the concept of a “real estate transfer tax” has been considered as a new way to generate additional revenue for state programs and services. The Salem Area Chamber of Commerce supports the proactive effort to take this option off the table by passing Measure 79.
Protecting home buyers is more important than ever in today’s economy. Barriers to entry for those interested in buying their first home are already considerable. An additional tax added to real estate transactions would only hinder our ability as a state to get our economy back on track.
This situation would be especially bad for Salem after years of steady decline in area home values. Struggling home buyers and sellers would have to pay an additional tax at the same time they’re paying money to creditors on their underwater mortgage. The Salem-area economy just can’t take a new tax that would further destabilize the housing market.
Instead, we need state and local governments to do more to clear the path to home ownership. Increasing home ownership allows families to put down roots and invest in their communities. That action results in a more stabilized marketplace and a stronger economy.
Real estate is a cornerstone to every local economy, and a multitude of secondary transactions revolve around the sale of real estate. According to the National Association of Realtors, for every two homes sold, one job is created. Based on 2010 home sales, this equates to the creation of 2.5 million American jobs in the year 2010 alone.
As a result, the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce endorses a “yes” vote on Measure 79 in Oregon’s general election. Join us in supporting Measure 79 as a simple action we can take to say yes to home ownership and yes to a stronger local economy in the Salem area.
Jason Brandt of Salem is the chief executive officer of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce and a first-time home buyer as of June 2007. He can be reached at email@example.com.