NEW ENGLAN D U P D A T E MARCH JLC 1997 Impact Fees: Fair Fees or Sneaky Taxes? Impact fees — the real estate transfer or permitting fees used by many towns to fund development- related and other expenses — have been a concern to the building industry since their use began in the 1970s. However, what was a back-burner issue for the construction industry only five years ago has lately emerged as a prime regulatory and financial issue, both nationally and in New England. In Massachusetts, the state Home Builders Association (HBA) stands ready to do legislative and perhaps legal battle with two towns and all of Cape Cod over existing and proposed real estate transfer fees. In Connecticut, the HBA is challenging the state's impact fee mechanism,