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.

 

 

 

 

 

Body Guards

Barack Obama has body guards.

Joe Biden has body guards.

Hillary Clinton has body guards

Paul Ryan has body guards.

Nancy Pelosi has body guards.

Whenever and wherever they go.  Be it a school, a church, or any other “gun-free zone”.

So exactly why are you and I prohibited by law from being our own body guard at all times?


 

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Play or Pay: How We Are Subject to TSPLOST Extortion

Cities in Fulton County are being held up at legislative gunpoint in Fulton County, Georgia, and if they do not play along with how the rules have been written by the State Legislature, their constituents will pay the price.

Cities within Fulton County (I live in Johns Creek) are required to either get on board with a Transportation Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) or run the risk of having the TSPLOST passed in the fall of 2016, and their jurisdictions be subject to the tax and receive nothing. Continue reading

Georgia’s Job Growth Is Higher Outside of Metro Areas

Despite the general perception that it is the metropolitan areas of Georgia that are its economic engines, the rate of year over year job growth is actually higher outside of those metropolitan areas.  And some of your Metro areas have very dismal growth, despite large state and federal expenditures in those areas. Continue reading

The Right to Bear Arms Vs. Property Rights

In a story today at Breitbart News (link below), a District Judge has stated that your right to defend yourself does not start only at your door.

It’s always good when a judge affirms what most of us already agree with.  But here is where it becomes tricky.

Do your constitutional rights go with you wherever you go, or do they end when you enter property not owned by yourself and not government property?  Are your rights merely extended to you on your own property, in essence?


 

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MARTA: It’s Not About Racism-It’s About the Math

MARTA_trainSince the beginning of the Mass Transit era in the Atlanta metropolitan area, I’ve constantly heard the arguments that the reason people were against the transit system was racism.

This is usually the moment that the local politician or commentator makes the statement about how people feared that their homes would be broken into and their tv set stolen and taken away on a bus or train. It’s a tired example, and an inaccurate example. Continue reading

Brace Yourself For the Slowing Georgia Economy

images_man_braking_car“Individual income tax collections for the month increased by 11.5 percent, while gross sales tax collections deposited during November rose a minuscule 0.2 percent. Net sales tax revenue fell by 1.3 percent.

Corporate tax revenues in November increased by $5.1 million.”

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/blog/capitol_vision/2015/12/georgia-tax-receipts-up-7-5-percent.html

There’s what you need to know in a nutshell.

Gross sales tax collections rose only 0.2% in November.  Net Sales Tax Revenue fell by 1.3%.  That says recession.

In an economy that is based on consumption, consumption must outgrow everything else.

The individual tax collections will soon follow suit as well as corporate tax revenues.

If people are not spending more money, companies do not make as much profit.  Companies that do not make as much profit do not need as many employees.  Fewer employees means lower income tax collections.

The state of Georgia did pass a Billion dollar transportation tax earlier this year.  We have begun to see that impact.  Taking a billion dollars out of gross receipts and sending it to the state, rather than to the bottom line of companies and into your banking accounts as savings has a cost.

We will see that cost in full glory shortly.  The tax, however, will not be reversed.

What we will see is everything else blamed, from warm weather to cold weather, to the strong dollar to …..

The truth, however, is much simpler.  Governments that tax too much destroy their own economic engines.