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NJ Realty Transfer Fee Stirs Controversy

Governor Chris Christie answers questions during his 119th Town Hall at the Somerset National Guard Armory in Franklin Township
Governor Chris Christie answers questions during his 119th Town Hall at the Somerset National Guard Armory in Franklin Township (Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)
This is about as unsexy a topic as you can get. But if you’re in the middle of a real estate transaction it can really hurt you. Governor Christie said yesterday he’d like to do away with realty transfer fees. At a town hall meeting one man in the audience told how he got hit for over $5,000 when he sold a house two weeks prior.

Christie called the fee, what I think we’d all agree is a tax, a “grab by the government for no good reason,” “awful,” and also sarcastically called it “a great gift” from former Governor McGreevey. From that statement one could be led to believe that the realty transfer fee started under McGreevey, but it’s actually been around since 1968 and the majority of states have them.

What the governor was actually getting at is the changes to it that were made under McGreevey that made it confusing and out of control. The governor is right on this. To see the full history of Jersey’s realty transfer fee go here. Pay special attention to the graphs and how the money the state raked in suddenly skyrockets once these McGreevey era changes were made.

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