Voters in the San Juan Islands will decide in November whether a half-percent Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) will be imposed for 12 years with proceeds going to affordable housing projects. The ballot measure authorizes the REET for 12 years - from December 2018 through 2030. The buyer would pay 99 percent of the REET, the seller would pay one percent.
If you have questions about the proposed affordable housing REET, the League of Women Voters is holding a forum from 12 noon to 2 p.m. Monday, September 10 at the San Juan Island Grange in Friday Harbor. Ryan Page, San Juan County affordable housing coordinator; Steve Ulvi, Yes for Homes Coalition; and Steve Buck, owner of Coldwell Banker SJI will be there to answer questions.
According to information posted on the county's website, an estimated $15.2 million is expected to be collected in the 12 years. It is to be used for development of affordable housing including acquisiton, building, rehabilitation, and maintenance for very low, low, and moderate income persons and those with special needs.
The legislation which allows an affordable housing REET limits the tax to counties that have imposed a land conservation REET at the maximum rate and the tax was imposed by January 1, 2003.
San Juan County's one percent Land Bank tax meets this criteria. The Land Bank REET - one percent tax paid by purchasers - was originally approved in 1990, renewed for an additional 12 years until 2014. Voters approved by a 442 vote margin a 12-year extension in November 2011. That vote renewed the REET for a third 12-year period. It expires in 2026.