At some point, one has to believe the data over the hyperbole, and the facts over the fiction. But the people in the United States have become so short-sighted, it’s likely they could not even tell you where they were last New Year’s Eve without looking at their phone for visual proof, such as photos.
Ask those same people what happened to the “greatest US economy ever” and the responses will center around Covid-19-a flu that has garnered a response like none we have ever seen in the US.
But I believe that they are wrong, and that Covid-19 is being used by both parties for what they will believe can be political gain.
Third Quarter of 2019 the Slowdown Began In Earnest
The data is out there and you can prove it to yourself if you are willing to look. I have.
The third quarter of 2019 saw profit growth per share for the companies in the Value Line financial subscription fall from 15.35% growth to 1.81%. That sort of slowdown is very detrimental to the political party holding the White House.
In fact, it is slow enough that I would state that it would be likely that Trump lose in 2020 unless there was some incredible reversal, which would have needed some sort of catalyst to occur.
Fourth Quarter of 2019 Prior to Covid-19
Comparing the fourth quarter of 2019’s performance to 2018 is even more horrific. Profit growth per share was down 11.98%. Companies, on a per share basis, earned 11.98% less than the previous year.
Yet Trump and Company still kept touting this economy as the greatest ever. On the other hand, i knew we were heading towards a recession. Companies do not just stop generating profits.
Along Comes Covid-19
For years I have demonstrated how easy it is to forecast the Presidential Race by looking at just one number. Corporate profits after taxes has accurately predicted the outcome for every election since 1972 except for one-1976. And that was the only time we had a non-elected incumbent running for re-election.
I have to believe that both parties are aware of how important the economy is during an election year to the outcome. The question one must ask oneself is that if knowing the economic slowdown that was happening, would either party try to exploit Covid-19?
For instance, would the Republican Party use Covid-19 as cover for an economy that was clearly heading towards a recession, so that the flu would be blamed for the economy’s dismal performance?
And would the Democratic Party use Covid-19 to guarantee that the US Economy was in the tank as voters decide who to elect in November?
The Answer is Clearly Yes
Trump had nothing to lose by blaming Covid-19 for the sudden demise of the US economy. Without it, I feel he was certainly heading towards a loss even if Biden would ultimately be the nominee.
And the Democrats would have no problem sacrificing the economy in order to keep it in the tank as long as possible in order to help their agenda.
But rather than just stick to the economic impact, the Democrats have embraced the greatest move towards socialism we have ever witnessed. And this action just might move the mind of the voters off of the economic issues and onto the socialism issue, which will likely be their undoing.
Make No Mistake The Economy Was Grinding to A Halt
The economic damage that has happened and continues to happen all around us cannot be underestimated. It s worsening day by day.
Covid-19 will be the scapegoat for all of it. Yet I will know that Covid-19 was a political flu.
And the United States will NEVER be the same again.
There are a small but growing group of residents like myself who have been trying to hold our government accountable. We do not look the other way. We insist that our Charter be followed and not circumvented for the convenience of the Mayor or any other elected officials. The rules need to be followed otherwise they will be exploited by one or more individuals.
We are small in number. But we are growing. And we are not going away. What follows below is the result of residents such as myself that are not afraid to hold our government to a higher standard. A standard that should be the starting point and not the Exception.
Why Were Craig Kidd’s Records Requested In The First Place?
A Bit of Background
In the fall of 2015, I worked on campaigns for Coughlin and Endres. While I was at Wilson Road Elementary School, waving signs with Mark Endres for these candidates in font of the school, someone drove past and gave us the finger. All the other voters who we waved to were friendly and polite. Not this one.
“Who was that?” I asked.
“Craig Kidd”, Mark Endres replied. “He is a leader in the Republican Party.”
“No wonder I am not a Republican”, I responded.
Four Years Later
Four years later and Kidd is the Mayor’s assistant. And for several years there have been plenty of rumors about Mr. Kidd and what was going on locally. To summarize it briefly, candidates that could not be considered conservative in the least were being recruited by Kidd(A member of Republican Leadership in Fulton County) to seek office against candidates for City Council that were undeniably conservative, especially on fiscal matters.
Why would Republican leadership be recruiting candidates that were liberal? Rationally that makes no sense to someone like me, who is principled in their beliefs.
Johns Creek is small and rumors travel fast. Rumors that opponents of candidates Endres and Bradberry and Coughlin from years past were being coached by Bodker and Kidd were frequent. And as we know those candidates lost.
Time To Prove Or Dismiss The Rumors
In the spring of 2019, several things happened that heightened the awareness of what was going on to those residents that wanted to hold our government accountable.
The pursuit of Gateway Markers by the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, led by Lynda Smith, contained threats that were not so veiled against Coughlin, who dared to challenge the return on investment Gateway Markers would provide. Coughlin was told that there would be candidates in the fall to run against him because he was not supporting the CVB.
Endres was also at the same time catching hell for daring to report to Council what she had heard at CVB meetings.
There were rumors that the Mayor and Kidd were working to turn Johns Creek “blue” after McBath and Kausche both won in 2018.
Many of us debated why so called “Republicans” would do that. The answer is simple. They want to maintain their hold on power as long as they can. And if they have to compromise in certain areas then they will do so as long as they can maintain their control.
The FOIA Request
Most of us call it a FOIA request(Freedom of Information Act). But for local governments it is a GORA(Georgia Open Records Act). In order to get to the truth as to whether candidates were being recruited by Kidd and Bodker to run against duly elected candidates(Chris Coughlin), the activities of Kidd would need to be reviewed.
Records Requested *
For Craig Kidd I seek these public records.1. Text messages on city phone including phone number/contact from January 1, 2019 – September 30, 2019 2. Telephone log of all incoming and outgoing calls on city phone from January 1, 2019 – September 30, 2019 3. Copies of all emails to and from @FultonGOP.org, 4. Audit of website activity for city phone and city computer assigned to Craig Kidd April 1, 2019 – September 30, 2019 (what websites has he visited and for how long)
As you can see, the only materials requested were from City devices. The search was limited to the issues stated above. This was not a wild goose chase but a specific and narrow search.
Within five minutes of reviewing the information I had picked up from City Hall, it became very clear that the rumors were not just rumors but facts. These are not alleged, made up, contrived or fake news. The information was pulled by City Officials who are required by State Law to do just that.
The Mayor is an elected official. His assistant is an employee of the City. Here is the text exchange they had on March 2, 2019(I have bolded the crucial messages in the thread below-the “Me” in the thread below is the Mayor’s assistant as it was his text records I requested):
[3/2/19, 10:43 AM] Mike Bodker : Did you see the news about Sharon [3/2/19, 10:43 AM] Me: No [3/2/19, 10:46 AM] Mike Bodker : She resigned [3/2/19, 10:46 AM] Mike Bodker : Effective late March [3/2/19, 10:47 AM] Me: She was getting quite frustrated with the city’s lack of development desire. [3/2/19, 10:48 AM] Me: Do we know where she’s going? [3/2/19, 10:51 AM] Mike Bodker : Yep as am I [3/2/19, 10:55 AM] Me: Things will get once city hall and linear open. People need to see it. [3/2/19, 11:03 AM] Me: I spoke with Kausche’s aide. I think she and I will have a meeting this week to discuss November. I imagine I will blow her mind. [3/2/19, 11:50 AM] Mike Bodker : She said to Warren back to NY to be with family [3/2/19, 11:51 AM] Mike Bodker : Talked to Angelika Friday about the same topic she keeps getting no way from folks [3/2/19, 11:52 AM] Mike Bodker : I hope we can trust her given that Stephanie was already telling people I want dems to run [3/2/19, 11:53 AM] Me: I presume that was a leftover from the Bradberry Horton race. For the time being we will have to ignore the raw partisan talk. It will be tough but long term it’s best. [3/2/19, 11:53 AM] Me: If we can bring the chamber in on three November talks then Angelica will see how strong our intent is. [3/2/19, 11:55 AM] Mike Bodker : Arts and chamber [3/2/19, 11:56 AM] Mike Bodker : We need various Constituencies to align [3/2/19, 11:56 AM] Me: Already on that. The arts community is looking for a candidate. I told them more than one. Sadly they put all their energy into Horton so when she passed, they were left flat footed. [3/2/19, 11:57 AM] Me: I’m trying to get Baughman and Lynda Smith flaking. Somehow, they don’t know each other
Me: Craig Kidd- Mayor’s Assistant
Sharon: Sharon Ebert (Community Development)
Kausche: Agelika Kausche-Democrat who won Georgia’s District 50 Race
Stephanie: Council Member Stephanie Endres
Bradberry: Council Member John Bradberry
Horton: Vicki Horton, who ran for the same seat as Bradberry and lost in a runoff
Baughman: Maestro for JC Symphony and lead on the Legacy Center (new name for Performing Arts Center
Lynda Smith: Head of Johns Creek Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
Arts: Art Community who is pursuing a Performing Arts Center and Gateway Markers(one of the constituencies)
Chamber: Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce(another of the constituencies
Reviewing the results from a request under the Georgia Open Records Act I filed with the City of Johns Creek, it became obvious that resources(staff and equipment) were being used to engage in political activities that should have been done outside of the office and not using City equipment(cell phones, computers, etc).
You can read all the messages between the two using the link below:
The Johns Creek City Charter is similar to the US Constitution. It is a framework for the rules under which our City operates and what is allowed and not allowed. Elected officials swear an oath that they will faithfully execute the City Charter of Johns Creek.
What Does The City Charter Say About This Behavior?
Section 2.15 of the City Charter Section C states the following:
No elected official, appointed officer, or employee of the city or any agency or entity to which this Charter applies shall use property owned by such governmental entity for personal benefit, convenience, or profit, except in accordance with policies promulgated by the city council or the governing body of such agency or entity.
The replacement of Council Member Chris Coughlin from the Johns Creek City Council would have made it much easier for the Mayor to proceed with his agendas.
In the text messages using City issued cellphones and during normal business hours, we see a conversation that describes the Mayor’s frustration with the lack of development desire.
Next, we see the assistant discuss contacting the aide of Angelika Kause(D-50), our state representative. Rumors were circulating around Johns Creek that the Major and his assistant wanted to turn Johns Creek blue. These text messages confirm that there indeed was a strategy to do this.
We also see that the Mayor confirms that he has also contacted Kausche on the same topic and the answer from folks is no way.
It also makes it clear that the Mayor and the assistant were reaching out to other constituencies in an effort to field opponents for Council Member Chris Coughlin, who was going to run for re-election to the Johns Creek City Council. We also know that they were successful as Coughlin had three opponents during the race. Two of the opponents were both connected to the constituencies mentioned in the text messages above, and spent more than $100 thousand dollars in this effort.
What Needs to Happen Next?
When a resident wins election to the City Council they take an Oath to uphold three very important documents. Here are a few portions of that Oath:
I, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of Council Member of the City of Johns Creek, and will, to the best of my ability support and defend the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Georgia and the Charter, Ordinances and Regulations of the City of Johns Creek.
I will truthfully, honestly and faithfully discharge the duties of my office.
PORTIONS OF THE CEREMONIAL OATH OF OFFICE FOR THE CITY OF JOHNS CREEK
The second line I have included above is also critically important. To me this line means that you will do what is right, and not just what is in your own best interest.
The issue was taken up at the last City Council work session on December 9th, 2019. And it seems that this Council up to this point is delegate their responsibility to resolve this issue to the City Manager and an independent investigator.
The facts seem undeniable. City Property was used to achieve specific objectives that would benefit the Mayor for personal benefit and convenience. The Mayor directs the Assistant that he needs multiple constituencies to align. The Assistant responds that he has told them he needs more than one candidate.
We know this to be true as Council Member Chris Coughlin had candidates from the constituencies mentioned. We know that these constituencies did try to align to defeat Coughlin, although they failed.
And unless there is a policy that has been approved that states City Resources can be used for campaign purposes, recruitment of candidates, and for the personal benefit and convenience of the Mayor and his assistant, then the Charter has been clearly violated.
Residents of Johns Creek do not vote for the City Manager. While the Police Chief has the utmost respect, this is not a criminal matter. The outcomes for violating the City Charter are not necessarily criminal matters and those that violate the Charter do not necessarily go to prison.
What they did vote for are the seven bodies that serve as the Johns Creek City Council. And like it or not they have a job that they have sworn an oath to perform.
What Is Their Duty?
The City Council is required to enforce the City Charter. And they are required to enforce it for violating even one provision of the Charter. If they do not then they themselves are violating the City Charter according to Section 2.16 (a) (1) & (5) and also should be removed accordingly.
Section 2.16 of the City Charter states the following:
Sec. 2.16. – Removal of officers.
(a)The mayor, a council member, or other appointed officers provided for in this Charter shall be removed from office for any one or more of the following causes:
(1)Incompetence, misfeasance, or malfeasance in office;
(2)Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;
(3)Failure at any time to possess any qualifications of office as provided by this Charter or by law;
(4)Knowingly violating Section 2.15 or any other express prohibition of this Charter;
(5)Abandonment of office or neglect to perform the duties thereof; or
(6)Failure for any other cause to perform the duties of office as required by this Charter or by state law.
Can This Behavior Be Defended?
Would the Mayor argue that he does not know the Charter? He shouldn’t. Otherwise that would then confirm incompetence. Another reason to be removed from office according to the City Charter.
Could the Mayor have his assistant do whatever he desires? No. The assistant is a City employee and is also bound by the City Charter.
The action of the Mayor’s assistant to knowingly pursue candidates to run against sitting Council Members, at the Mayor’s direction, in an effort to change the political makeup of the Johns Creek City Council, using City Equipment, during working hours being paid a taxpayer-funded salary and benefits, is clearly a violation of the Johns Creek City Charter.
For an individual in the Fulton County Republican machine to be recruiting democrats to run for City Council? That’s up to those that call themselves Republicans. That’s one of the reason many of us are no longer republicans. We will see if they police themselves or not.
The assistant to the Mayor reports directly and only to the Mayor. Who should have been making sure that this was not happening as a function of their daily job, rather than giving the guidance to pursue the objectives we saw stated above? Only one person: Mayor Bodker.
Where Does That Leave Us?
One or more of the Council Members need to take action and take action soon. If you are not going to enforce the Charter, I’d encourage you to resign. We can find residents who are willing to enforce the Charter on behalf of all residents, and not just when it is convenient.
It is past time to lead by example and address what we know has been going on and put an end to such behavior.
“You will earn the respect of all if you begin by earning the respect of yourself. Don’t expect to encourage good deeds in people conscious of your own misdeeds.”
Friends, Adam Thomas seems to find it necessary to suggest things about Chris Coughlin that simply do not hold up under scrutiny. Even though the “tax promise” mentioned was made during a campaign that was NOT for the seat Chris currently holds, he still has not broken that tax promise.
The above states that Chris Coughlin pushed for a millage rate of 4.3. That was lower than the millage rate in the motion that was being debated. That would have been a tax cut.
How often does one see a incumbent chastised for offering an amendment to lower tax rates and then have that used against him? This could be a first. But it gets better.
Chris never voted for a millage rate over 4 to be implemented in Johns Creek. He did support an amendment to the motion to lower the rate from the roll back rate. But if that passed, that did not mean that Chris would have then voted to set the millage rate at that level.
His flyer is deceptive at the very least. Council Members should offer amendments to motions to drive the conversation, even if ultimately they will not support it. That is how you hear the debate on the principles and positions.
It’s a shame he has to try and paint a picture that suggests something that is simply not true about Coughlin.
So, are the statements made on Mr. Thomas’ flyer campaign flyer promises he will live up to?
Do you really think Thomas will have a budget where every expenditure will be justified? Prior to implementation of this budget? Has he actually watched the budget process?
Unless he redefines what audit means, the answer would be no.
Let’s combine that with his argument that critical projects have been delayed and defunded. We know that many of these projects have shown little to no value to Johns Creek.
But they were “promised” with TSPLOST. Should not an elected official challenge wasteful spending on behalf of the residents? Absolutely.
And to answer his question?
Yes Chris Coughlin represents me. And I will be voting for him because he has represented me, challenged bad ideas pushed by the majority, improved our traffic flow on 141, and worked on many other issues to improved our quality of life.
Yes, you read that correctly. People read words and phrases and never think of the meanings of the words. Notice carefully my liberal friends. We were meant to be a loose collection of states.
Each state would set their parameters for functioning. And if you did not like it, you could move to a state you did like.
Simple, clear and concise.
It’s NOT the United Citizens of America
There are those among us that want the President of these United States to be elected by popular vote. But that is NOT the basis for which we formed this nation. A popularity test is no way to run a country. Why even bother with state borders if you like that concept?
The ONLY way to get the smaller of the 13 colonies to go along with forming “a more perfect Union”(notice it does not say perfect) was to insure it was NOT going to be majority rule.
All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.
A Constitutional Republic
That is what we are and what we must strive to be. The smallest of minorities, the individual, MUST have there rights protected. And those rights are enumerated in the US Constitution
To allow the majority to strip away those rights would be a grave mistake. You would effectively be owned by the majority.
“Being on the side of the majority is often a sign that you are wrong, or the most unlikely to be right.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
You Were Lied To In School
How many times were you told that you lived in a democracy? You do not. You live in a Constitutional Republic.
When you live in a democracy without the protections of a Constitution you are owned by the majority. Whichever side makes the most persuasive arguments wins.
Think about that.
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”
― George Carlin
The More People Vote The Better The Outcome
Nothing could be further from the truth. The more people that vote the more average the outcome will be. Guaranteed.
Imagine a society where everyone was required to vote. We are frequently told that “Every Vote Counts”. Yes it might be counted, but it will also lead to worse outcomes and not better.
Voters are not experts on every topic. It’s likely most people cast votes for individuals based on name recognition only . Is that what you want to decide issues that will affect your life, your income, your safety, and your freedom? Name recognition?
Please do not rely on campaign signs, mailers, or newspaper articles to pick your candidate. Go or watch just a few public debates or forums. See what they say, how they say it and if they know what they are talking about.
I voted for individuals currently on the Johns Creek City Council that I was and am still appalled at their arrogance, ignorance and general lack of respect for their constituents..
And I based my vote on their campaign mailers. I’ll never vote blindly for a candidate again.
Despite the presence of Ted Metz, both the Kemp and Abrahms campaigns have had months and months to shape and promote their platforms and agendas. Yet the race is too close to call. This week they began to label Ted Metz, the Libertarian candidate for governor a spoiler. Not even close to the truth.
The vote totals will include all three candidates plus the valid write-in candidates. So for every vote for Ted Metz or a write in candidate, it raises the number needed by the “winner” by 1/2 vote. If Ted Metz gets 300,000 votes, for instance, the winner (Kemp or Abrahms) would need 150,000 more votes than their opponent to win without a runoff.
So who is winning? And by what margin? Do they want to go for the victory on Tuesday? Or should they play the game as they have designed it? One of these two candidates is NOT in the lead. Do their own parties have so much confidence as to ignore that fact? The candidate who is behind should be begging for Libertarians to turn out en masse and vote.
And if neither campaign feels that confident about their numbers, then both should be begging for Libertarians to turn out and vote for their principles.
So do not tell me our votes are wasted. Our votes just might save your candidate to make it to a runoff.
After Tuesday, if there is no runoff, rest assured one of the two candidates would have liked to have one.
They could reshape their campaigns and let the chips fall where they may.
Do you feel lucky Kemp? Do you feel lucky Abrahms? Do you feel confident that your side is in the lead sufficiently to win with 50% plus 1 of the vote? Or should you play for the tie and go into overtime?
It’s not too late to encourage the Libertarians to vote for Ted Metz, for your own good. In fact, it just might be the best move your candidate has ever made.
It’s a three way race for Georgia’s highest position and that race more than ever shows just how broken the process is. It’s evolved into a race of popularity, not principles. Truly principled candidates do not make it to the November race with one exception-Ted Metz. Ted Metz is the principled Libertarian candidate for governor.
Why might I say that? It’s simple. A qualified principled candidate for governor for the State of Georgia will not get out of the primaries. In fact, the truly principled candidates split their vote. And the two names that move to the runoff? They are more popular than principled.
Why might I say that? During the primaries voters are repeatedly reminded that they should vote for a candidate that can “win” the primary. And the primary is truly not about principles, but who has the greatest name recognition. Look at the results below:
Georgia Governor Republican Primary
Casey Cagle (Republican)
Brian Kemp (Republican)
Hunter Hill (Republican)
Clay Tippins (Republican)
Michael Williams (Republican)
The leading vote recipient LT. Governor, Casey Cagle received only 39% of the vote. Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Secretary of State, received only 25.6%. These two would go on to a runoff where Kemp eventually wins the nomination.
But be certain there were tens of thousands of votes who felt another candidate was more qualified, but voted for Cagle or Kemp only because they felt one of these two had the “chance to win”. That’s the culture we live in. Vote for the winner and not your principles.
Now we are facing the November election and Kemp, who only received 25.6% of the primary vote(74% of the Republican electorate thought someone was more qualified) faces Stacey Abrahms, who received 76% of Democratic electorate’s vote.
Which is why Ted Metz, the Libertarian candidate for Governor, is already being labeled incorrectly as a “spoiler” in this race. Mr. Metz is not a spoiler. Metz is highlighting just how flawed our system is.
A major party(The Republicans) eliminates the principled candidates systematically to select a “popular” candidate that will face the Democrats in November. That is what I call flawed to the nth degree. The Republicans have alienated a good number of voters prior to the November vote. In reality, the more candidates you have in the primaries the more likely the principled candidates will fail.
You, the voter, would not be forced to compromise between principled and popular. Looking at the results above, you would have selected three candidates and marked your preferences 1,2 and three. If no one receives 50% plus 1, then the lowest vote recipient is removed, and if that was your first choice, your second choice is used. This continues until one recipient has 50% plus 1.
Imagine what the vote would be like in Georgia’s Gubernatorial race if we used the Instant Runoff Methodology this November.
First, we’d have NO runoff and campaigning after the November election
Second, we could vote our principles first and foremost. Shouldn’t this be what we do in the first place?
Were that to happen then during the election cycle, all the candidates would need to expand their appeal to as many voters as possible, and not just their party. It’s likely both the Democrats and the Republicans would now find it worthwhile to appeal to the Libertarian voters in particular, because it would matter.
Were that to happen, we’d have a better outcome for everyone.
But, on the first Tuesday, we’ll see just who happened to be the most popular recipient of votes and not who was the most principled.
And for that, we will all suffer.
You, however can send a clear message. Vote for Ted Metz. Vote for him by the hundreds of thousands. Force the runoff. Make both parties appeal to those that voted for Metz
Then you can vote in the popularity contest in a few weeks and see if it makes a difference with their campaign rhetoric.
Residents of Johns Creek should not vote in this upcoming election if they are not familiar with the candidates, the major issues in Johns Creek and are basing their decisions on such variables as :
You are not familiar with the issues we are facing such as potential widening of our roads to overcome the ineffective traffic light system we have today
You are unfamiliar with the negative impact higher density housing has on our roads, schools, and property values
You are basing your decision on the endorsement of an elected official, who just wants to avoid having someone challenge them on issues before the City Council
You saw more signs for the candidate that you are going to vote for so you believe that is a sign of more support for that candidate(Signs for candidates are placed on the roads by the candidates and their crews-Signs in neighborhoods actually show you who your neighbors support but you still need to educate yourself!!!)
You read their mailers to your home and they seem like a nice person
Residents of Johns Creek should vote IF:
They have done their own research into the candidates
They have watched the debates, forums, City Council Meetings and Work Sessions and see how these candidates actually think and function
They understand that Johns Creek is at a crossroads. Do we become Buckhead or stay Johns Creek.
Click on the link above to read the short but informative analysis on what happened.
Here is a summary in my own terms:
What happened was that Federal Funds replaced(or crowded out) state funds for the transportation projects. A major condition of receiving these funds was that states, such as Georgia, would continue to spend what they were planning to spend on highway construction and the new Federal Funds would boost that spending. Continue reading →
Johns Creek has a constant claim that the traffic here is bad, although it is NOT the fault of our poorly timed and prioritized traffic lights. No instead it is because of the growth in areas around us that is the cause of our issues.
So I decided to dig into the numbers looking at what the last ten years have brought us in terms of population growth among Forsyth County, Johns Creek, Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton. What I found is amazing.
Fastest Growing in terms of % Growth: Forsyth County
While that is not a surprise the reason is rather simple: Forsyth County actually started with a much smaller total population than Johns Creek, Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton did ten years ago. Put simply they started with a lower headcount, which makes their percentage growth look higher.
Annualized Rate of Growth Over The Last Ten Years
Forsyth County 3.67%
Johns Creek 1.75%
There are no major surprises there. In fact you might look at the numbers for Johns Creek and say “AHA”! But that is not all there is to this story. Continue reading →
Let’s be honest. The system of collecting taxes for county, city, and school taxes is broken. And the larger the area dependent on funding from property taxes, the more broken it becomes. North Fulton County residents pay tremendously more for the same county services than South Fulton residents. Why?
Here are three reasons it needs to be scrapped:
There is no correlation between the amount of taxes you pay and the amount of “services” you receive.
A family of six living in a $500,000 home and a family of two living in a $500,000 home, pay the same property taxes if they live in the same community. Why? What makes us feel its fair to collect three times as much tax on a per capita basis from one family than another? What if the family of two lives in a home worth one million? What makes it right to collect six times as much for the very same levels of services? Should I mention that the family of six likely creates more demand for services than the family of two as well?
When property values are high, and tax rates are high, this can have the effect of driving out empty nester residents to avoid the high levels of taxes relative to the services they receive for those tax dollars.
2. Property values rising(and falling) should have no impact on how much tax revenue is needed to run your county, cities, and schools.
We’ve seen property values fall during recessions and rise during better times. This should have nothing to do with how many dollars are needed to provide services in your community. Yet we have made the tax digest the first step in the taxation process, followed by each government agency voting on the millage rate to be applied to that tax digest. Elected officials vote far more often on how much they will tax you than you have a chance to vote on whether or not they should remain in office.
Let’s add to that the huge infrastructure we now have in place at the Tax Assessor’s office to track every piece of property, every structure, and every improvement you make to your home, all in the effort to make sure every $ of real estate(real or imagined) is taxed.
Why on earth should you owe the government more dollars because you decided to finish your basement or add a deck?
The perverseness of this likely discourages residents from making improvements to their properties.
How much time and energy is used by the Tax Assessor’s office to gather all of this information? How accurate is it? Is it worth it? Who is really benefitting?
3. How many hours of effort will the Public spend appealing these assessments?
If 1/4 of the households in Johns Creek appeal, that could be as high as 7,000 homes. Spend five hours on this process, and cumulatively we will have spent 35,000 hours fighting our high assessments.
Instead, why don’t we take a moment and consider a different system? We do not tax each resident within an HOA a variable amount do we? It’s a flat rate per household. While not necessarily the same on a per capita basis, it is a fairer system than taxing each household based upon the value of their property.
What would a fixed property tax collected per residence look like? First, it would treat all of us as equally as possible.
We would not need an army of government employees tracking our properties, needing to know everything about the inside and outside of our homes.
We would never have to appeal property taxes in the future.
Our governments would be accountable to us directly for the rate of taxation we face, and there would be no finger-pointing as to who is to blame.
The current system of taxation has more expensive property owners subsidizing the less expensive property owners. In a society where wealth redistribution is frowned upon by most of us, it is curious to me why we are so willing to allow tax redistribution with property taxes, where the level of services received are so far removed from what the property owner pays in taxes.
Johns Creek could lead the way to a better model of taxation for its residents. It’s time we slay the beast that taxation based on property values has become. Taxation should not be unfair or onerous.
It’s time for a change. Contact your locally elected officials and tell them you want a different system. Tell them you want a better, more equitable system.