City Council says no to Joliet property transfer tax increase

REALTOR® Donna Billings addresses the Joliet City Council while REALTOR® Mark Meers listens behind her.

REALTOR® Donna Billings addresses the Joliet City Council while REALTOR® Mark Meers listens behind her.

Joliet/Will County REALTORS® accomplished a victory for the local economy Tuesday night as the Joliet City Council unanimously voted down an effort to increase the city’s real estate transfer tax by 66 percent.

A real estate transfer tax increase from $3 per $1,000 value to $5 per $1,000 was one of several ideas proposed to generate revenue in the city’s 2016 budget.  A REALTOR® Call for Action against the idea and testimony from IAR local Government Affairs Director Gideon Blustein at a special city council meeting last week led some to believe the city manager would remove the item from the budget. However, late in the week, the Council decided to move ahead with a public hearing and vote to send the increase to referendum.

Gideon Blustein

REALTORS® rallied to the cause, filling the council chambers and providing personal testimony. Blustein framed the increase as a measure that would have unintended consequences for Joliet’s fragile housing recovery, such as giving neighboring communities without real estate transfer taxes a greater competitive advantage. REALTOR® testimony illustrated how the economic costs would outweigh the projected $1.1 million in City revenues.

When the resolution was called for a vote, there was a tense silence before Councilman Jim McFarland offered a motion to deny the increase. The motion to deny was seconded and quickly passed with unanimous support from the council.

This victory for Joliet’s housing market illustrates the power we have when we rally together to protect private property rights. It truly demonstrates the #PowerofR.

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