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Realtor groups mobilize against real estate transaction taxes

Associations use Web sites, ad campaigns to combat tax hikes

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Proposals to create or raise real estate transfer taxes, which add real estate transaction costs for consumers, set the lobbying machines in motion at several state-level Realtor trade associations. The North Carolina Association of Realtors in late March launched a campaign to mobilize against a proposed tax that would charge sellers 1 percent of the sale price in home-sale transactions. Realtor groups fear that such taxes will discourage home sales, especially among lower-income consumers. And real estate sales have already slowed in many markets across the country. Transfer taxes can be a recurring issue in cities, counties and states as public officials look for ways to keep money flowing in for public projects and services. The North Carolina trade group launched a Web site, www.itsabadidea.org, to educate consumers about several local and statewide tax proposals, and the campaign features television, radio, direct mail and print ads. There is a transfer tax calculator to figure o...