Realtors criticize Governor’s proposed “Taylor Swift tax”

Taylor Swift's pricey mansion on Watch Hill in Westerly
Taylor Swift’s pricey mansion on Watch Hill in Westerly

By Sam Wroblewski

The head of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors (RIAR) is speaking out against a proposed tax which would require wealthy homeowners to pay an assessment on their second homes in the state.

The tax proposed by Governor Gina Raimondo, dubbed the ‘Taylor Swift tax’ in reference to the singer’s pricey Watch Hill home in Westerly, would allegedly target out-of-state homeowners with properties upwards of one million dollars to help generate additional revenue to the state. President of the RIAR Bruce Lane says this proposition is a bad idea.

“It doesn’t make sense at all,” Lane told WPRO’s Gene Valicenti. “It’s not even a ‘gee, I think we can work with this,’ we can’t work with it at all.”

Lane says hitting wealthy homeowners from Connecticut, New York, and elsewhere with additional taxes would discourage future out-of-state buyers from considering making Rhode Island their home away from home and investing in the local economy.

“They come into the local economy, they spend money; they spend money in the restaurants, they spend money shopping, and then they go back to their homes wherever they are coming from,” said Lane.

Additionally, Lane says the language of the new tax is too broad and local homeowners would end up being caught up in the same net.

“We’re saying second houses, but what the budget is saying is, ‘non-owner occupied properties assessed at a million dollars or more,’ so if I have a three family house in Newport that I don’t live in that I rent out, that’s going to be subject to this tax.”

Lane has vowed to fight the Governor’s new proposal.

“The local housing market in Rhode Island is starting to do well, why would we want to interrupt that pattern?”

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