Legislative Update: July 18, 2019
By BOB QUINN
Vice President of Government Affairs
Here are a few items being explored in the New Hampshire legislature that are of potential interest to the real estate community and being watched closely by your New Hampshire REALTORS government affairs team:
Governor vetoes increase in deed recording fee
Last Friday, Governor Sununu vetoed Senate Bill 74 which would have increased the deed recording fee on transfers of property. SB 74 proposed to increase the fee to $35, from the current $25. Proceeds from the deed fee go to the Land Conservation and Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) and are used for land conservation and historic building preservation.
The Governor indicated that he would prefer a voluntary opt-in fee as opposed to a mandatory requirement. NHAR had suggested a voluntary fee when the bill was heard in the Senate.
Realtors had also asked the legislature to include in SB 74 language establishing a committee to study the economic impact of land conservation and its impact on affordable housing. That provision was adopted in the bill by both the House and Senate.
It takes a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate to override a Governor’s veto. Based on the votes this legislative session, it appears unlikely that the veto will be overridden.
Governor signs legislation authorizing lowering arsenic levels
The Governor has signed into law House Bill 261, which authorizes the NH Department of Environmental Services to lower the current enforceable groundwater and public water systems from the current EPA recommendation of 10 micrograms per liter down to 5 micrograms. New Hampshire will have the lowest enforceable arsenic standard in the country.
HB 261 does allow impacted entities access to the NH Drinking Water and Groundwater Fund to assist with the capital costs of compliance with new or revised groundwater quality standards, such as arsenic.
Expansion of commercial property tax exemption becomes law
Two years ago, the legislature passed legislation which enabled a municipality to adopt a construction property tax exemption for commercial or industrial uses. The intent of the exemption is to provide incentives to businesses to build, rebuild, modernize, or enlarge within the municipality (RSA 72:81).
That legislation required a municipality which had adopted the property tax exemption to offer it uniformly within that municipality to all projects for which a proper application was filed.
Senate Bill 22, which was introduced this year, refines that statute to permit a municipality to offer the exemption exclusively to a specific group of parcels within the town – as opposed to uniformly across zoning districts. NHAR supported the change.
The Governor signed the bill into law last week, and it becomes effective immediately.
If you have questions regarding these or any other pieces of legislation from the 2019 New Hampshire legislative session, please contact New Hampshire REALTORS Vice President of Government Affairs Bob Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-225-5549.
Amidst the sea of change to which the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS has played witness in its 85 years, one thing that has remained constant is the Realtor 'R' and the value we bring to every real estate transaction in which we take part. We are part of a unique community where our familial cooperation transcends our business competition. These are not mere platitudes, but our living ideals, and they are, in fact, the foundation on which we conduct ourselves in our day-to-day affairs.
Dan O'Halloran (at right), 2019 President, New Hampshire REALTORS