Boston City Council legislation that would tax, up to 6 percent, many commercial and residential real estate sales of at least $2 million would have generated $420 million in 2018 for affordable housing efforts, according to Councilor Lydia Edwards, a sponsor of the legislation.
The city’s current affordable housing budget is around $50 million. Edwards and others have pointed to the hypothetical 2018 windfall as proof of the proposed levy’s potential to raise funds to mitigate Boston’s notorious housing crunch.
But it is unclear if taxing homebuyers and commercial real estate investors that much more would drive enough new development or provide enough subsidies to dent the crunch.
It is also unclear, too, if the legislation will make it much further than the council chambers. Mayor Marty Walsh has his own housing agenda. And the council idea would have to win not only his approval, but that of the state Legislature’s . A similar tax on certain home trades from Somerville failed on Beacon Hill last year.
Plus, as the Globe’s Tim Logan reports, the real estate industry has lined up against the City Council legislation. Stay tuned.