Oct 11 2020

Measure TT: Tax Increase on Home Sales: YES or NO ?

Piedmont Measure TT increases the “flat rate” property tax  on  sales of all Piedmont homes and properties. Measure TT officially states, “this measure is not a commitment to any particular action or purpose.” 

The 35% tax increase will be levied as a percentage of the property sales price adding thousands of dollars to the cost of selling a property in Piedmont.  With a low bar for passage (one vote plus 50%), if approved by a simple majority of Piedmont voters, TT will become effective on all property sales in Piedmont on July 1, 2021.  Read official details below.

Proponents and Opponents use different terms to argue that TT would or would not establish the highest transfer taxes in California. 

TT Proponents rely on the handful of California cities such as Oakland and Berkeley that have created “stepped” graduated transfer taxes based on the sales price range in their cities, and then compare the highest tax rates for the highest priced properties with Piedmont’s flat rate.  Berkeley’s median house value is 1/2 of Piedmont’s and Oakland’s median house value is 1/3 of Piedmont’s, so their steps do not fit the Piedmont range. (See Alameda County median values here). 

TT Opponents claim TT is the highest California “flat” transfer tax because more than 90% of California cities have flat rates under $2 per $1000 compared to Measure TT’s proposed flat rate of $17.50 per $1000 .  (See California city Transfer Tax rates here .)  Note: Alameda County adds an additional amount to the transfer tax.


Proponents state the money will be used by the City of Piedmont for essential services, and the tax is comparable to some other cities. “The proposed tax increase will provide necessary funds for maintaining and improving city facilities, streets, sidewalks, and parks.”  Proponents claim that opponents are wrong to state that Piedmont would have the highest Transfer Tax.

Opponents state Piedmont will have the highest “flat” Transfer Tax rate in California and will take away homeowner profits.  “Voters must demand accountability measures before passing such a high homeowner tax.” Also, Piedmonters just approved a City parcel tax for  municipal purposes, and Measure TT does not identify specific uses. 

Click each item below to read official information on the measure, liens, bankruptcies, etc.:

*The “City Attorney’s Impartial Analysis of Measure TT” is provided by Piedmont’s contract City Attorney.

2 Responses to “Measure TT: Tax Increase on Home Sales: YES or NO ?”

  1. “Revenues from the tax can be used for any legitimate governmental purpose”. This is taken directly from the ballot measure. Proponents claim it will be used on sidewalks, streets and parks but the city raised the parcel tax just 2 years ago for the exact same reason – maintenance. TT is based on a flawed financial projection that the transfer tax will remain flat for the next ten years. Downturns happen (Post Covid revenue is above that of pre-Covid by the way) but over the last 20 years transfer tax revenue has grown consistently and going forward this growth will bring in the revenue proponents claim is needed. Why add to our tax obligation when it is not needed?

  2. I generally agree with Garrett on this one. While I believe our good city staff and commissions will find suitable and desirable projects to spend the increased revenues on, it is pretty clear that, if TT passes, Piedmont will have the highest actual real estate transfer tax payments in the state. This is because the other cities with as high of rates per $100,000 of assessed value, have lower home values. I believe the transfer tax is normally paid by the seller, although negotiable. Cleverly, the disgruntled payer of the tax will normally no longer be around to complain.

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