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November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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Local

City of Albany
Measure CC - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Passed

5,512 votes yes (56.38%)

4,264 votes no (43.62%)

100% of precincts reporting (3/3).

To support City of Albany general services, with funding that cannot be taken by Sacramento, including: emergency response services, environmental programs, community services and local business programs, shall a measure increasing the City's real property transfer tax rate from $11.50 to $15.00 per $1,000 purchased, providing an additional $392,000 annually, until ended by voters, with all funds remaining local be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

A "yes" vote on Measure CC will approve the real property transfer tax rate increase. 

NO vote means

A "no" vote on Measure CC will not approve the real property transfer tax rate increase. 

Summary

Malathy Subramanian, Albany City Attorney

 

(Real Property Transfer Tax)                                                                                

The City of Albany ("City") currently imposes a real property transfer tax at the rate of $11.50 per $1,000 of real property interest transferred. The real property transfer tax currently provides approximately $1,290,250.00 annually to the General Fund to pay for general City services and programs.

Measure CC was placed on the ballot by the Albany City Council and, if approved by a majority of Albany voters, will amend the Municipal Code to increase the real property transfer tax rate from $11.50 to $15.00 per $1,000 ofreal property interest transferred. It is projected that this rate increase will generate an additional $392,000.00 in new revenue. The new rate would become effective on January 1, 2021 and remain in effect until modified or repealed by voters.

Measure CC does not change the current administration of the tax. The real property transfer tax generally applies to transactions involving the sale and purchase of real property. Certain transactions are exempted from the tax. For example, no tax is assessed where a new deed is recorded to correct an existing deed or when the purpose of the transfer is to divide community property.

Measure CC would be a "general tax". All revenue from this tax would be deposited into the City's General Fund and could be used for general City operations and services. Such funds cannot be appropriated by the State of California.

A "yes" vote on Measure CC will approve the real property transfer tax rate increase.

A "no" vote on Measure CC will not approve the real property transfer tax rate increase.

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure CC. If you desire a copy of the ordinance or measure, please call the City Clerk's office at (510) 528-5710 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.

 

/s/ Malathy Subramanian, City Attorney

 

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Malathy Sumarian Albany City Attorney

The City of Albany ("City") currently imposes a real property transfer tax at the rate of $11.50 per $1,000 of real property interest transferred. The real property transfer tax currently provides approximately $1,290,250.00 annually to the General Fund to pay for general City services and programs. 

Measure "_" was placed on the ballot by the Albany City Council and, if approved by a majority of Albany voters, will amend the Municipal Code to increase the real property transfer tax rate from $11.50 to $15.00 per $1,000 of real property interest transferred. It is projected that this rate increase will generate an additional $392,000.00 in new revenue. The new rate would become effective on January 1, 2021 and remain in effect until modified or repealed by voters. 

Measure "_" does not change the current administration of the tax. The real property transfer tax generally applies to transactions involving the sale and purchase of real property. Certain transactions are exempted from the tax. For example, no tax is assessed where a new deed is recorded to correct an existing deed or when the purpose of the transfer is to divide community property. 

Measure "_" would be a "general tax". All revenue from this tax would be deposited into the City's General Fund and could be used for general City operations and services. Such funds cannot be appropriated by the State of California. 

A "yes" vote on Measure "_" will approve the real property transfer tax rate increase. 

A "no" vote on Measure "_" will not approve the real property transfer tax rate increase. 

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure "_". If you desire a copy of the ordinance or measure, please call the City Clerk's office at (510) 528-5710 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you. 

/s/ Malathy Subramanian, City Attorney 

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Argument in Favor of Measure CC 

As of mid-August, in the United States alone, Covid-19 has infected 5.2 million people and killed 166,000. The pandemic has decimated federal, state and local government budgets. The federal government can borrow more than it spends, but state and local governments must balance their budgets. 

Albany’s budget has been hit hard. The pandemic has reduced sales taxes and many other sources of revenue. This damage has come just as we are beginning to grapple with a 15-year effort to rebuilt state pension fund balances, which will require additional funding from cities like ours. 

The city has been searching for additional revenue sources that will not affect day-to-day living for Albany taxpayers. One option is to increase the city’s transfer tax from a rate of 1.15 to 1.5 percent. This increase will only affect property owners at the time of sale.  For every $1,000 of income from the sale of a house or condo, the amount of this tax will increase from $11.50 to $15.00.  

For example, if you are selling a condo for $500,000, your transfer tax will rise from $5,750 to $7,500, an increase of $1,750. If you are selling a house for $1 million, your transfer tax will rise from $11,500 to $15,000, an increase of $3,500. Renters will be unaffected by the increase in the transfer tax. 

The dramatic rise in home values has left homeowners with unexpected large gains in income from sales. The increase in the transfer tax will dedicate a small part of these unexpected gains to fund vital city services. This will help keep budgets balanced as we put the pandemic behind us and begin to grapple with pension costs and other future challenges. 

Please vote YES on Measure CC. 

Nick Pilch, Albany Mayor 

Peggy McQuaid, Albany Vice Mayor 

Peter Maass, Albany City Council Member 

Michael Barnes, Albany City Council Member 

Kim Trutane, Board of Education President  

Arguments AGAINST

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE CC (Transfer Tax) 

Albany homeowners voted down an identical measure not long ago.  With two other local tax measures on the ballot, homeowners can’t afford yet another one. VOTE NO on Measure CC.  

Nearly zero fiscal analysis was made before placing Measure CC on the ballot. The authors have simply crossed out the old tax rate and inserted a much higher rate WITHOUT ANY TAXYPAYER SAFEGUARDS.     

In fact, there is no guarantee that the money from this tax will be directed to emergency services, environmental programs, community services or local business programs like the ballot language suggests. The City Attorney’s own impartial analysis states that the “tax would be deposited into the City’s General Fund and could be used for general City operations and services.”  

THAT MEANS THE TAX CAN BE USED FOR ANYTHING INCLUDING SALARIES, PENSIONS OR PROJECT OVERRUNS.  

The authors would have you think that most of the transfer taxes in Albany get taken by the State. This is not true. The truth is that almost 90% of the existing tax homeowners already pay stays local. 

Albany already has an extremely high transfer tax rate. Increasing it will tie it as one of the three highest flat rates in California. While these taxes are typically split between buyers and sellers, the new tax increases would cost homeowners and homebuyers thousands of dollars more to buy or sell a home. 

That means residents could have to pay thousands more in taxes to sell their home before moving into a retirement community.  It would also mean that thousands more would need to be paid before a new family could purchase a home here.  

Now is not the time to make housing in Albany even more expensive - Vote NO on Measure CC.

Eric Wong 

President, Bridge Association of REALTORS® 

Replies to Arguments FOR

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE CC

Don't be fooled. This is not about the Pandemic.

Cities, like Berkeley, include something called a "sunset clause" to their transfer taxes, so they end when the money is no longer needed.  Supporters claim that they want to increase taxes to balance the budget during the Pandemic.  If that's the case, shouldn't the tax end after the Pandemic is over? There is no sunset clause in Measure CC. Measure CC will last forever.

Measure CC Money is Really Going to the State Pension Fund

Supporters of the measure actually admit this is about pensions. The measure states "all funds will remain local," yet proponents say, "we are beginning to grapple with a 15 year effort to rebuild state pension fund balances." Is the City trying to keep the funds local or is it trying to pay for state pensions? The confusion makes one thing certain - there is no guarantee that the money will be spent on local programs like Measure CC claims.

Homeowners AND Renters Will be Affected

It's simple. Higher transfer taxes mean bigger mortgage payments. Bigger mortgages mean higher rents. As properties are sold and resold, transfer taxes and mortgages will increase exponentially. This means higher housings costs for everybody- Renters AND Homeowners. On the other end, older residents selling their homes will have less money for retirement. Please don't make housing costs more expensive for retirees, new homeowners and renters.

 VOTE NO on Measure CC

/S/ Eric Wong

President, Bridge Association of REALTORS®

 

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure CC

There are so many misinterpretations in the argument against the transfer tax that it is difficult to rebut them all, but we'll give it a try:

The last time the city passed a change in the transfer tax was in 2002, 18 years ago. In 2008, 12 years ago, in the heart of the financial crisis, the city failed to pass an increase in the transfer tax.

The increase from 1.15 percent to 1.5 percent was carefully selected based on a financial analysis of need. The tax revenue will go into the general fund, which is where most expenses are paid, including salaries, pensions, and the costs of most programs. We know the transfer tax revenue will stay local. We don't plan on increasing this tax just give the money away.

If the increase in the transfer tax is split between buyer and seller, it would amount to $1,750 for each on a sale price of $1 million. This is a small amount compared to the other fees, including fees to real estate agents. A 1.5 percent transfer tax would be equal to that of Berkeley and Oakland for houses in the $1 million range. Berkeley and Oakland charge a higher percentage for more expensive homes.

There is never a good time to raise taxes, but this increment in the transfer tax is a very reasonable way to help stabilize the city's revenue in coming years. Please vote YES.

 Nick Pilch, Albany Mayor

 

Robert C. Cheasty, former Albany Mayor

Marge Atkinson, former Albany Mayor

Sara Hinkley, Albany Board of Education Trustee

 

Brian Doss, Albany Board of Education Trustee

 

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