House Bill 4007 passed by the 2018 Oregon Legislature raises the $20 Housing Alliance Tax to $60 on June 4, thereby raising the first page document recording fee in Umatilla County for deed and mortgage records to $96 and most liens to $76, plus $5 per each additional page for all recordings. Most deed records average 2-3 pages and mortgages 16-20 pages. You do the math. The revenue raised is to help fund affordable housing for low-income residents.

I’m for affordable housing for everyone, but not at the expense of the very people this bill was intended to help, nor on the backs of the middle class who will pay the majority of this tax. This bill not only affects struggling first-time home buyers, but underwater homeowners looking to refinance; grieving widows and widowers removing a deceased spouse from title; fixed-income seniors adding adult children with rights-of-survivorship to title and adding property to family trusts to avoid expensive probate fees; hard-working developers and contractors recording plats and filing completion notices and construction liens; small businesses deeding property to an LLC; terminally ill filing powers of attorney; persons recording easements for access to property; mining claims; and the list goes on.

In this day of “do-it-yourself” websites like Legal Zoom and the high cost of using an attorney, more and more people attempt to prepare their own legal documents, many of which do not meet statutory requirements and result in necessary re-records and doubling of recording fees, adding insult to injury.

Not only does this bill affect individuals and families, but also raises costs for municipalities, utility companies, irrigation districts, electric cooperatives, surveyors, state agencies, lenders, etc., who will pass on the added expense to the very same individuals and families.

It’s time to hold our legislators accountable. Check online to see a list of those lawmakers who voted for this excessive tax increase and vote your conscience next time they are up for re-election.

Steve Churchill

Pendleton

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