Oregon Builders Find Alternative to Development Fees
A new construction excise tax put forth by the Oregon Home Builders Association a few months ago to help school districts cover some of the costs of new schools has apparently ended a two-decade-long battle between builders and educators over development fees.
Replacing development fees on new homes and apartments, the construction-excise tax can be levied by school districts on new homes, apartments, shops, industrial projects and office buildings. That spreads the burden more fairly to commercial property, which can spur jobs growth and the demand for homes, said Jon Chandler, a lobbyist for the HBA.
Since the new tax is based on square footage, it also spreads the load more fairly to different income levels, he said. The larger the home, the greater the tax. The home builders also secured a provision that prevents cities and counties from levying new construction-excise taxes, despite the opposition of the League of Oregon Cities.
Oregon builders recently received more good news when Governor Ted Kulongoski signed into law the nation’s first online permitting program for contractors, which allows contractors to electronically submit and manage building permits and other documents.
The system authorized by House Bill 2405 will allow contractors to electronically work with 132 cities and counties across the state. They will be able to apply, pay for and receive permits; submit building plans for review and tracking; and schedule, track and receive inspection reports.
It will be funded with a 4% surcharge on all building permits sold in Oregon beginning in January 2008.
For more information, e-mail Carlos Gutierrez at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8242.