MAYVILLE - Chautauqua County will continue to charge an additional mortgage tax for the next three years.
A local law renewing the additional mortgage tax was passed in a 20 to 5 vote during the legislature's regular March meeting.
Fredonia Democrat John Gullo spoke out against the additional mortgage tax, receiving support from Keith Ahlstrom, D-Dunkirk; Shaun Heenan, D-Dunkirk; Vickeye James, D-Jamestown; and Bob Stewart, R-Ellington.
"For the residential purchaser, the mortgage tax adds more expense that he cannot escape," Gullo said. "It makes the closing costs that much higher. It puts home ownership out of reach for some and discourages others. Overall, it is one more component in the high-tax structure that exists in this state.
"We need to create an incentive for buyers to come here," Gullo continued. "If we have the lowest mortgage taxes in Western New York, we would have such an incentive over others."
As passed, the local law continues the additional mortgage tax without interruption for another three years. The tax is 25 cents for each $100. The text of the local law can be found online as a pdf with this story at www.post-journal.com.
"We need to create an incentive for buyers to come here. If we have the lowest mortgage taxes in Western New York, we would have such an incentive over others."
The exact wording in the local law is that the tax is 25 cents for each $100 dollars "and each remaining major fraction thereof of principal debt or obligation which is or under any contingency may be secured at the date of execution thereof, or at any time thereafter, by a mortgage on real property situated within the County of Chautauqua and recorded on or after the date upon which such tax takes effect and a tax of 25 cents on such mortgage if the principal debt or obligation which is or by any contingency may be secured by such mortgage is less than one hundred dollars."
In his comments Gullo explained that a significant portion of his work as an attorney includes closing real estate deals for both residential and commercial customers. With out-of-state businesses which sometimes look at coming to Chautauqua County, Gullo said, the additional local mortgage tax can be something which pushes that business to another county or another state.
Though opposed by Gullo, Ahlstrom, Heenan, James and Stewart, the local law was approved by the rest of the body's 20 legislators - Dick Babbage, R-Bemus Point; Majority Leader Larry Barmore, R-Gerry; George Borrello, R-Irving; Lori Cornell, D-Jamestown; Tom DeJoe, D-Brocton; Paula DeJoy, D-Jamestown; Tami Downey, R-Kiantone; Bob Duff, R-Sheridan; Jay Gould, R-Ashville; David Himelein, R-Findley Lake; Maria Kindberg, D-Jamestown; Rudy Mueller, D-Lakewood; Chuck Nazzaro, D-Jamestown; Jerry Park, R-Forestville; Doug Richmond, R-Westfield; John Runkle, R-Stockton; Bob Scudder, R-Fredonia; Scot Stutzman, I-Jamestown; Mark Tarbrake, R-Ellicott, and Legislature Chairman Fred Croscut, R-Sherman.