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Repeal of mortgage registration fee approved by committee

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A bill that would phase-out the mortgage registration fee over five years has been approved by a Senate committee.

Bankers and real estate agents have been pushing for the end of the fee, saying it hurts their business and consumers.

But county officials statewide, including those in Douglas County, have said the lost revenue would need to be made up some other way.

Senate Bill 298 was recommended by the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee earlier this week.

The fee is equal to $2.60 for each $1,000 borrowed on a home mortgage, or $390 for a $150,000 mortgage. It isn't collected from people who pay cash for real estate.

In Douglas County, the fee generated about $1.8 million last year, and officials estimate a 2-mill rise in property taxes would be needed to replace that money.

The bill approved by the committee would also phase-in over four years a $4-per-page increase in fees for documents handled by county registers of deeds. But county officials say they won't produce nearly enough to replace the mortgage registration fee.

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