The Federal Reserve Bank: Pumping Fuel onto the Bonfire of Inflation

We are in very uncertain times.  And they are becoming more uncertain.  The Federal Reserve Bank(FRB) just raised interest rates .25% and has stated it is their objective to raise rates perhaps 3 times in 2017, in an effort to effectively curb inflation.

And while that may seem to make sense based on the way both the FRB has worked in the past, and what we have been told about inflation and how it works, these actions, perversely, are going to have the opposite effect this time around.  Should I be correct, then the raising rates will actually fuel inflation, which will force more rate hikes, and then even more inflation. Continue reading

Johns Creek: It’s In Your Best Interest to Stop TSPLOST

The vote Johns Creek residents will take on the TSPLOST 0.75% tax is critical to understand.

Voters are being presented with the opportunity to raise the taxes on themselves, which will effectively increase the spending and size of the Johns Creek City government by 29.7%.  That is not insignificant. Continue reading

Are Our High Quality Schools Sustainable With High Density Housing?

There is another problem with High Density housing that you will not hear any politicians speak about in public.  I am not a politicians, and so I will.

The health of your schools is threatened with higher density housing.  Why?  Because a townhouse that sells for $300,000 will pay 1/2 the school taxes that a house that sells for $600,000 will.  If  both homes have two kids in school, the impact is significant. Throw an apartment complex into the equations and the fiscal impact on schools becomes even  more significant.

It costs $13,433 per student per year to educate children in Fulton County.  No small amount.  Property taxes are essential to school funding(especially those property taxes coming from people with no children in school).

Assuming 12 years of education per student, that totals  $161,196, quite a large sum.

For our example, we will consider an apartment, a townhome, and a single family home.

Based on my calculations from the number of units at some of our most valuable apartment complexes here in Johns Creek, an apartment unit is valued round 110,000 for tax purposes.

Apartment Townhome House
Value $110,000.00 $325,000.00 $500,000.00
School Taxes $1,284.05 $2,918.30 $4,961.11
Cost per Student 13433 13433 13433
% Covered 9.56% 21.72% 36.93%

(The above taxes are from the 2016 tax rates, and assume homestead exemptions have been applied for on the Townhome and house.)

As you can see, apartment dwellers and Townhome dwellers pay far less towards the education of a student than does a homeowner who lives in a more expensive property.

The math makes it clear.  If you continue to add more and more students who are in households contributing less to the cost of education, either property taxes will need to rise significantly or the cost of the education will need to drop sharply, reducing the quality of that education.

And none of this would even be possible today at these tax rates were it not for households with no children contributing to the system even though they have no children in school

Which leads us to this question:  How smart is it for communities to continue adding high density housing, which puts the same strain on school financing economics when you know that they are going to contribute substantially less to those very same schools?

 

What’s Undermining Residential Real Estate Values in the City of Johns Creek?

Johns Creek receives many accolades throughout the year, and 2016 has not been an exception to that trend.

For many residents, concern over ever higher densities of residential real estate developments such as apartments and town homes has been a major concern.  But the City of Johns Creek pushes ahead with ever more high density development with seemingly arbitrary lines drawn as to where the higher densities are permissible and where they are not.

Residents did not directly vote on these issues.  They only have cast votes for those that decide on these issues.  And as history has shown, there are not a plethora of voters that even bother to make their voices heard.  That, however is changing.

There is a cost to current residents as more and more of these high density developments are approved and put into place.

Let’s ask the residents of Johns Creek who were here in 2007.  Taking the data from the 2015 CAFR report (you can find it here:  http://www.johnscreekga.gov/JCGA/Media/PDF-Finance/2015-cafr.pdf ) on page 61 shows Johns Creek had a population of 70,050 and a residential tax digest (page 79) of $3,215,735,140.

A simple calculation reveals that in 2007 we had $48,727 of residential real estate per resident.

How have the residents of 2007 fared over the course of the last 8 years?  Well, not so well.  Using the population counts and the residential tax digest from the same pages mentioned above, we can see that residents of Johns Creek  have seen that number drop to $40,117 per resident, a decline of 17.67%.

Residential Property Value Per Capita
Year Residential Property Population
2007 $3,215,735,140.00 65994 $48,727.69
2015 $3,333,836,970.00 83102 $40,117.41
-17.67%
Source: Johns Creek CAFR 2015

Why are residents from years past seeing such a drop in values for their community at large over time? The drop in housing prices from the recession is behind most communities in our area and should certainly be behind us in Johns Creek.

I’ll blame that in large part to the additional higher density housing which has been added over the years and continues to be added even as we speak.

Those that move into higher density developments are those that are not buying the current real estate stock we have in Johns Creek.  Fewer buyers for that real estate naturally lowers the selling prices of the real estate.  Yes indeed, the supply and demand curve you had to learn about in high school and college is actually meaningful.

Additionally, all of this “new” higher density living is coming in at average price points below what the average homes in Johns Creek are worth.

So we have less demand lowering selling points and lower prices units pulling down the averages as well.

Also interestingly enough the amount of commercial real estate per resident is rising.

Commercial Property Value Per Capita
Year Commercial Property Value Population
2007 $691,897,960.00 65994 $10,484.26
2015 $879,818,130.00 83102 $10,587.21
0.98%
Source: Johns Creek CAFR 2015

So as residential property values fall per resident, commercial property values are rising per resident.

I doubt that has been the objective of many of the residents within our community.  Those that reside on Findley Road at City Hall are undoubtedly happy about this outcome, however.

After all, they are the ones who continue to vote and push us along this path of more commercial development and higher density housing.

 

 

 

 

 

Did You Really Think It Was Going To Be Easy?

Misplaced outrage is all around us.  I don’t even have to give you the examples, but it’s likely even you have been guilty of having misplaced outrage.

“Did you hear what So and So said? What are we going to do?”

Establishment politicians have a major advantage over un-elected challengers.  They are reelected at rates that boggle the mind when you consider how unhappy we are with their performances.  In November, the majority of you will vote to keep your Representatives and your Senators despite the fact that they have been in office as the debt of this nation has gone from $7 trillion to $20 trillion, wars around the planet we participate in are multiplying and the US economy dies a slow and steady death. Continue reading

Worsening Economic Conditions: Where’s the Growth?

Today’s GDP report paints a bleak picture.  GDP for the first quarter was revised down to 0.8%.  The second quarter of 2016 came out at 1.2%, and will likely be revised lower.

Here is what they also released, but are not talking about:

Corporate profits before and after taxes have also been revised back to the first quarter of 2013.  And it is bleak.

Remember that businesses do not go into business just to sell you goods and services.  They do so to sell you goods and services to generate profits.

Would you trudge off to work every day to earn less than you did last year? And less than you did two years ago?  Or would you make some changes? Continue reading

Goodbye Ted Cruz

I could have supported Cruz in the beginning.  I am a firm believer in the US Constitution and believe 99% of or social and economic problems disappear by strictly following it.

Cruz had the opportunity to show his true character and the more I heard the more frazzled his belief seemed to me.

I am not fooled.  Trump is not the answer to what ails us.  But he is the best hope for a connecting road to the right path.  Because you have to destroy the power structure that has been in the Republican Party for all these decades that have sold us out left and right.

With a clear and consistent set of principles, the Democrats would fade off into history.  They have no principles other than calling everything hate and enabling class warfare.

So I do not expect Trump to the Promised Land.

That is up to you.  If you continue to support the Congressmen and Senators you always have, then NOTHING changes.

Vote out Ryan for starters.

Vote against the rest of those that compromised us to where we are today.  Even if they do not lose this election they need to be scared as hell that they will lose the next.  And for Representatives, that is just 2 years and six months away.

Send a clear message.  The frustration does not just rest ay 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It’s the whole damn lot of them.

The BREXIT Exit: Why It’s A Great Thing

I’ve mentioned more than once about the danger of single points of failure, and how we seem as a society to continue to consolidate more and more power into the hands of fewer and fewer people.   And when those people make mistakes in judgement, the damage is more significant than if an individual made a mistake for themselves.

Combining countries into a single unit, and then attempting to apply the same solution for disparate situations under the guise of fairness is and always will be a mistake, especially when we are talking about economic solutions.

Britain was having to change how its economy functioned for other countries that have very little in common with it, other than geographic location.  And other countries were receiving aid from countries rather than actually engaging their own economies based on the resources and abilities they had.

If everyone now actively pursues economically what is in their own best interests, the entire continent will be better off.  And everyone will have their own destiny in their own hands, rather than the hands of those that they do not even know.

That is better for everyone involved.

The best news is this appears to be happening without a war, which is the way it should have been handled.

(*) Local Option Sales Taxes- How We Are Ripping Ourselves Off

Chances are, you have cast votes on more than one occasion to tax yourself via sales tax for education. traffic or other local projects.  Chances are, you, like many others, felt it was just a penny here and there, and chances are you bought into the notion that others from outside your jurisdiction would also be paying the tax, which is a win-win for all but those outside of your community.

tax dollars

And chances are, you’d be wrong. Continue reading