During this election season, there has been much information (and misinformation) circulated about a “proposed 2 transfer tax.” I’d like to set the record straight.
Our 2005 Comprehensive Plan included as a “Tier II” recommendation that we “consider a Town-wide referendum to create funding for land acquisition and preservation of open space and parkland.” In order to enable Bethlehem to have a “Town-wide referendum,” the Clarkson administration requested the Assembly to introduce enabling legislation which would have given Bethlehem the option- if the Town Board approved a law and it passed a townwide public referendum – to impose a fee every time real estate was sold “up to” 2 percent. The legislation never made it out of the state Senate and died. Supervisor Van Luven stated at the September 26 Town Board meeting and at a Republican ‘information session” held October 11 that the legislation is “dead” and he is not pushing the state to pass it.
My opponent is distributing campaign literature which incorrectly states there is a transfer tax which is a “scheme to circumvent the tax cap” while “misleading the public.”
The transfer fee, had it been enacted, would not be a “scheme” to circumvent the tax cap since the tax cap only pertains to property/school tax and has nothing to do with the imposition of a charge upon the transfer of real estate.
As always, I believe policy should be driven by data and facts, not by emotion or misinformation. Policy development must be open and transparent and all viewpoints must be considered. We should only proceed on a policy issue after there have been extensive opportunities for the public to weigh in.
There are a variety of funding sources for an open space fund. Clifton Park, for example, enacted legislation requiring a developer who wants to build more homes than the zoning code allows to pay $30,000 per home to a town preservation fund.
If elected, I will introduce legislation which would present a variety of sources for the establishment of an open space preservation fund, and, following public hearings, allow for a referendum so that ultimately the people can decide. I will also push to update our Comprehensive Plan and zoning laws and promote and expand our conservation easement program to prevent future development.
Town Board Candidate