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WA Lege Day 55: Tax debate on real estate taxes

OLYMPIA -- Sen. Don Benton offers an amendment to strip out a provision that gets rid of the exemption from the real estate excise tax for homes sold from foreclosure.

On normal sales, the real estate excise tax, or REET, is paid by the seller. But in foreclosures, the seller is gone and the bank is trying to get money back.

"The provision will tatke the responsibility of the previous owner and move it to the new owner," Benton said. It's another "onerous tax" that will stifle the real estate market and stall the recovery.

Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, says it's an issue of taxpayer fairness. Sell a house the normal way, the REET is paid. Sell it on the courthouse steps, it's not. People show up for foreclosure auctions with cashiers checks to pay the whole amount he says. Perhaps, he adds, Benton has never been to an auction...

Benton objects. Lt. Gov. Brad Owen says people are getting a little sensitive. But I have been to an auction, Benton says. You can mention it in your closing remarks, Owen said.

Amendment fails 22-26 on a roll call vote.


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