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12/11/2013

Time for fair mortgage tax

Time for fair mortgage tax

Did you know that Kansas is one of only nine states that impose a fee, which Kansas courts have declared a tax on purchasers of real estate when they take out a loan to finance that purchase? A person who has cash to purchase a home or land isn't required to pay the tax. Additionally, borrowers that utilize government-sponsored lenders, such as Farm Credit, are not subjected to the mortgage registration tax. In other words, the mortgage registration tax is not fairly applied to all borrowers, let alone to those who use cash to make their purchase. In Kansas, purchasers of real estate requiring financing from a community bank, savings and loan or credit union must pay a tax of 26 cents per $100 of indebtedness. On a typical $150,000 home loan it adds an additional $390 to the borrower's closing costs. On a farm or commercial real estate purchase it can literally add thousands of dollars to the borrower's closing costs. Almost all of the tax, 25 cents per $100 borrowed, goes directly to the general fund of the county where the property is located.

This begs the question: why does Kansas tax policy discriminate against certain individuals who need to borrow money to purchase real estate? This tax singles out a small segment of the population for unfair tax treatment. It isn't a coincidence that 41 states across the nation don't impose this tax. A mortgage registration tax penalizes those who seek to invest in their community and grow equity for their future.

The mortgage registration tax should not be confused with the mortgage recording fee that is also paid by the borrower. The mortgage recording fee is also payable at closing and was specifically established to cover the costs associated with recording mortgage documents. The mortgage registration fee (K.S.A. 79-3102) that we are working to repeal is a tax in addition to the mortgage recording fee (K.S.A. 28-115). Since both are required to be paid before the mortgage is filed, a borrower essentially pays twice to record the same mortgage.

The Kansas Bankers Association is part of a coalition working to eliminate this unfair tax to bring equity to Kansas borrowers. Fair tax policy is possible and now is the time to level the playing field for all Kansans.

MATT BENNETT,

Garden City

Leaving with mixed emotions

This will be my last letter to the editor of The Garden City Telegram.

You may ask why? Many people have been asking this question of me lately. I'm leaving because I want to breathe a sigh of relief, be able to relax and enjoy my retirement for a while.

Let me ask you this. Would you like to be paying much lower taxes? How about one-quarter of what you are paying now? Would you like paying no food sales tax? Would you like grocery shopping knowing as a senior that you'll get 10 percent off your grocery bill?

Would you, if you're a widow or widower, like to be able to lower your tax bill even more? If you are handicapped, lower them again. If I could only be the Pied Piper for a moment, I'd certainly try and persuade you to take off on a new adventure.

The year-round climate is very conducive to the aching bones. Located within driving distance to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, the Ole' Mother Load (Route 66) goes right through town. People from all over the world to meet. The air is crisp, yet refreshing. I look forward to my new adventures. I'll be able to do all this plus look at the snow-capped peaks of the Hualapai Mountains every day from my patio. Yes, I am moving on. I hope this may answer your question of Why? Sad to go, but happy to leave.

KAREN LIVINGSTON,

Garden City

Local Main Street a source of pride

I want to say thank you to the property owners, business owners, renters, Downtown Vision and other organizations of Garden City that have made the downtown Main Street and the side streets so very attractive ... the flowers, banners, statues, benches and Stevens Park, to name a few, are very nice.

Kansas Avenue looks good. I had some reservations about Third and Fourth streets when they were being changed. The little park with landscaping and the statues was a great idea.

My husband, Don, our daughter, Dawnnel Francis, and myself drove to Mississippi earlier in the summer. My husband and I just returned from Ohio. We saw many Main Streets but none could compare to what we saw when we drove into Garden City. It makes you proud. And again, thank you.

Sincerely,

WAUNETA MESSENGER,

Garden City

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