WILMINGTON -- North Carolina homeowners could be hit with another tax. Several bills in the State legislature would put a new "real estate" tax on your property when you sell it. And the idea is drawing plenty of criticism. The North Carolina Realtor's Association is campaigning against a proposed land transfer tax. If passed homeowners would be faced with a one percent tax when they sell their homes. The money would go to county governments for funding school, road, and sewer projects. Critics argue that in an area like greater Wilmington where affordable housing is already scarce, the land transfer tax will just be another barrier that will keep people from becoming homeowners. Realtor Michael Otelsberg said, "We have no place for work-force labor to get in the door now, into their own house. They're forced into perpetual renting. And this will be one more obstacle for them getting into their own home." Right now, county funding comes mainly from property and sales taxes, which many counties say are not providing enough money to fund the improvements they need. New Hanover County Commissioner Nancy Pritchett said, "The sewers are going to cost us a lot, a whole lot. And you never know. We might have a horrible hurricane like New Orleans and have to find a resource. This is another possibility." Unlike sales and property taxes the proposed land transfer tax would have to be approved by the people "If the people say no, then it's no. And if the people say yes, this is something we want to do, then we'll do it." Either way, county leaders say when it comes to funding civic projects the money will have to come from somewhere. Some counties in North Carolina already have a land transfer tax. Other county governments have now asked the state for the power to impose one.
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