Somerville Mayor Curtatone on Unanimously Passed Home Rule Petition for a Transfer Fee

By Joe Curtatone

Historic vote last night at the Board of Aldermen meeting as it unanimously passed the home rule petition for a transfer fee that targets house flippers, speculators and investor-owners. What you see in the picture is me signing it immediately after it got approved.

The way this works is residents who live in their homes won’t pay anything, nor will buyers looking to make Somerville their home. This only applies to those who are making a business of living in Somerville. The upside is we will be getting millions each year that will enable us to set a new standard for how aggressive a community can be in terms of affordable housing development. This gives us the war chest we need to tackle our local housing crisis head on.

Huge credit to the BOA for the serious, open process that led to this vote. They made thoughtful amendments and built consensus. Community advocates also played a big role, keeping us focused on the big issue (a housing emergency that must be addressed) and asking tough questions that demanded serious answers. The city’s housing and legal departments also burned the midnight oil to make sure every i got dotted and every t got crossed.This is how government is supposed to work.

Finally, a thanks in advance to the Somerville legislative delegation. They have already been involved in this process and they are ready to support this to the hilt as moves to Beacon Hill.

4 thoughts on “Somerville Mayor Curtatone on Unanimously Passed Home Rule Petition for a Transfer Fee”

  1. “A government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take everything you have” — Barry Goldwater

  2. Housing advocates are NOT asking tough questions. Or they’d be outside City Hall picketing AGAINST the downzoning of RB to NR, eliminating 1000’s of units that could be built right away. Sick of hearing housing crisis when the city is zoning out rental units that could be added to the housing stock – units that would be more affordable than new construction built on high cost acquired land. Downzoning is ironic – it will not affect the ‘character’ of neighborhoods, not even slightly, not at all. Where are the renters and housing advocates? How can anyone support downzoning when everyone agrees there is a housing crisis. Also, its not true that anyone living in their property will be exempt. There is a two year requirement. Thanks BOA for rubber stamping the transfer tax. I sure hope the people of Somerville, and by that I mean, those long time Somerville people who were sleeping giants until now.

  3. As a small landlord who rents apartments I disagree with this proposed transfer tax.

    there was absolutely nothing mailed to us with the water bill or property tax bill. its a hidden tax proposal without notification. Is this the democratic way of doing things in the city?

    “we” means everyone. The proposed funding should apply to everyone including tenants.

    “investor – owner”. This term applies to all owners. It also applies to all singles and condos (regardless if rented or owner occupied). when the day comes for them to sell they certainly do not want to take a loss on their investment.

    the owners of rental units should be exempted if they have owned for 20 or more years – they have been supplying housing for fellow mankind. they are not flippers. they are not developers. the city needs rental housing as everyone does not want to own. the older housing stock rents cheaper than newly built units.

    If the city were to purchase rentals this means that those properties are no longer paying property taxes. If so that will mean higher property taxes for others. higher operating expenses = higher rents.

    most people do not want to manage nor own rentals. this is due to the current laws and taxes. This results in condoization with more owner occupants. my question is – does the city want more owner occupants or more rentals? If more rentals I suggest changing zoning laws to add more units in attics and basements and backyards.

    the affordable housing issue is a national issue. the money supply was ~ tripled between 08 and today. it resulted in stocks and real estate rising way faster than wages. audit the fed.

  4. No acknowledgement to the hundreds of residents who spoke out against this tax. No acknowledgement that the city refused to notify property owners in writing of another tax. No acknowledgement that the HRO was substantially changed because property owners spoke out. There will be acknowledgement when re election rolls around.

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