Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican who once campaigned against raising taxes, unveiled a proposal Friday to hike the tax on Massachusetts real estate transfers by 50 percent, and funnel the more than $1 billion it could generate in the next decade into steeling cities and towns against the effects of climate change.
The plan, which Baker intends to include in his state budget proposal on Wednesday, marks one of his most high-profile bids to address climate resiliency as he begins his second term.
But it’s also expected to face heavy resistance within real estate circles, where trade groups warn a tax hike could exacerbate the region’s already steep housing costs.
Baker’s proposed tax increase would add nearly $1,200 in taxes to the sale of a $500,000 home, with those costs paid by the seller.
Baker said the increase to the so-called deeds excise rate could generate anywhere from $130 million to $150 million annually toward a Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund, which cities and towns could then tap through grants, loans, and other avenues for local projects. That could include modernizing public buildings, fortifying sea walls, or improving drainage and flood control methods, depending on a city or town’s needs. (read more)
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