Here come ripple effects of mortgage fee repeal

taxrevenueThe proponents of phasing out the mortgage registration fee prevailed at the Statehouse, dismissing concerns about what the move would do to local governments’ budgets or delivery of services. But Sedgwick County got a glimpse of the consequences Wednesday, as Register of Deeds Bill Meek announced his office will no longer handle passports and also asked county commissioners for one or two more staffers to deal with the next five years of mortgage-filing confusion. Plus, the county must prepare for the loss of an estimated $2 million to $3.7 million a year of mortgage registration fees by 2019, after losing $59 million in revenue due to state reductions since 2009. The banking and real estate lobbies had a point about the unfairness of the fee, but legislators and the governor were awfully quick to take the drastic action of a repeal – and too dismissive of the likely local reaction.