taxes: Wayback Wednesday... Property Tax Valuations... - 04/27/11 03:23 PM
Image by via Flickr It's that time again.  Last week we got our tax valuation reassessed.  For us, it wasn't a bad thing and honestly, it hasn't been for the folks I have talked with.  Let me qualify that... for the amount of tax we pay, it wasn't a bad thing.
Two years ago, Gwinnett County re-assessed our home.  The jacked us up by about 12%, even though there was NO justification in the comps.  They got away with it because it wasn't worth the fight for us to carry on.  We disputed it a couple of levels, but eventually … (2 comments)

taxes: Wayback Wednesday... Let's Freak Out Some Counties! - 02/03/11 01:12 PM
Image via Wikipedia Two years ago I wrote a post about a bill in front of the GA legislature that would require cities and counties to use the values of foreclosures when calculating tax assessments.
It passed... and it was signed... and it became law.
Honestly, I was hoping that there might be some noise from some counties by now, but there really hasn't been.  Sure, they are complaining about having enough revenue, but they complain about not having enough revenue when they are flush with cash and funding truly stupid projects.  Of course, the other part of it might be … (3 comments)

taxes: There is a new City Hall coming to Lilburn, GA... - 10/30/10 05:46 AM
It will take two to three years, but Lilburn is slated to get a new City Hall.  There will also be a new Library, and the current City Hall will go to the Police Department... the chambers where the Council meetings are held will be a new courtroom in the Police Department.
The best part is that Gwinnett County is picking up part of the cost, with much of the rest being paid for by SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax).  According to city officials, maintenance costs will drop after the adoption of the new City Hall.
The new City … (2 comments)

taxes: There IS a New Real Estate Transfer Tax in the ObamaCare Law - 07/20/10 03:05 PM
Image via Wikipedia One of the forums in which I participate has had stories on both sides of this issue for a couple of months… with the more conservative members saying that there is a 3.8% sales tax on the sale of homes, and those that are more supportive of the President and his policies saying that there isn’t.
Neither side was real specific about their information source… talk radio for some, blogs for others… nobody seemed to be going to the source… the 20,000+ page law signed by the President.  In all fairness, there is a LOT of room in … (215 comments)

taxes: Tax Credit Mix - 04/22/10 04:30 PM
The First Time Home Buyer & Move-Up Buyer Tax Credits are slated to end unless a property is under contract two weeks from tomorrow.  I don’t see another extension this time.  Even the NAR isn’t pushing for it this time. (Active Military have an extra year to get the credit…)
Image by Steve Kay via Flickr Because there is still a little time, I thought I would share a few posts about the tax credits… and a couple of other cool programs available.
First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit… Extended and Expanded
Groovy Site for First Time Home Owners…
Is this … (4 comments)

taxes: Home Buyer Tax Credit isn't Gone... Yet... - 04/14/10 03:28 AM
Don't drag your feet. 
If you are planning on taking advantage of the Home Buyer Tax Credits (either the $8,000 First Time or $6,500 Existing Home Buyer Tax Credit), time is running short.  The credit expires for buyer not under contract as of Saturday, 30 April, 2010. 
That means that you HAVE to be UNDER CONTRACT... not just have an offer...
I have had a couple of buyers think that they could put in an offer and then negotiate it in May...  No.  There has to be a Binding Agreement on or before 30 April, 2010 (unless you are Active … (5 comments)

taxes: What is a Community Improvement District? - 03/27/10 05:08 PM
Here in Lilburn, GA, in the heart of Gwinnett County, we are on the path to getting our second Community Improvement District (CID). 
But what does that mean?
The basis of a CID is a geographically defined area, with businesses choosing to install a special tax on themselves in order to improve the area... and their businesses.  The property owners, representing at least 75% of the property value in the area, agree to tax themselves, and then elect a board to oversee how the money is used. 
They are a partnership of public and private sectors.  They are enabled by municipal … (3 comments)

taxes: Same Song, New Verse... Oh Garbage, some more. - 03/25/10 02:05 AM
Image by lane.bailey via Flickr I am getting to the point where I wonder if this saga will ever end...  Let's get up to speed...
Gwinnett County contracted with Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful for a new waste management plan.  The plan was going to increase recycling, reduce the number of garbage trucks on the streets, slightly lower bills (for many) and require that all residences have garbage collection. The plan was going to go into effect on January 1st, 2009.  There were two selected garbage haulers, of the nine licensed to operate in the county.  Several of the other haulers filed … (0 comments)

taxes: Who Gets a Tax Break? - 03/17/10 04:21 AM
I can't count the number of time that I have heard President Obama and the chorus of his minions talk about "the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy".  And there is a big problem...  It is a GIANT lie.  Or, I guess I should more accurately say ANOTHER GIANT LIE coming from the Community Organizer. 
Here are the facts.
In 2004, the most recent year for which I could find stats, the top 1% paid 37% of all income taxes.  By comparison, the bottom 50% paid about 3% of the taxes...  The top 1% earned 19% of the income, and the … (7 comments)

taxes: Interesting article on where people are moving within the US... - 02/16/10 05:48 AM
Image via Wikipedia I ran across an article that parses IRS data on which states are gaining population and which are losing population.  GA is doing pretty well on the list... only a couple of states gained more population that we did here in GA.  Texas and North Carolina picked up more households than the 37,000+ Georgia picked up.  The big losers were Michigan and New York.
The information was assembled by the AP from IRS data points.  Here is a link back to the article.
The fun part is figuring out why...  Jobs, taxes and corporate relocation would be the … (8 comments)

taxes: FairTax a Solution for Upside Down Home Owners? - 02/12/10 08:11 AM
The statistics that point out the percentage of home owners that are upside down are staggering.  Depending on who you talk with, there are anywhere from 20% to 50% of current home owners that owe more money on their homes than they are worth on the open market...  As a home owner, I understand... I'm right there, too.
And there are a lot of experts that agree that until we deal with that statistic, and make a significant dent in it, we can't begin recovery in the housing market. In effect, many of the people that might be in the housing … (9 comments)

taxes: Successfully Dealing with an Economic Depression... - 02/11/10 07:11 AM
While the Depression of 1929 is often referred to as "The Great Depression", it didn't start out as catastrophic as it became.  Just 10 years prior, the US had a depression that began MUCH more severely.  However, the reaction to the 1920 Depression was VERY different that the reaction to the 1929 Depression.  Many Economists think that those reactions in 1920 allowed the economy to get back on track more quickly.  While, the reactions after 1929 prolonged and deepened that depression. Let's look at 1920 for a moment.
From 1920 to 1921, prices deflated between 13% and 18% (depending on the … (31 comments)

taxes: Depression? Let's Talk About Economic Meltdown... - 02/11/10 12:57 AM
For the last year and a half, from Democrats and Republicans, we've heard over and over that the economic downturn we have been facing was the worst since the Great Depression.  As a response, President Bush built a $700B Bank Recovery plan (TARP), in which his administration spent $350B in phase 1.  President Obama spent the other $350B in phase 2.  In addition to that, President Obama built a $989B Recovery plan.  He has also ratcheted up Federal Government spending to an amazing degree. 
President Bush's last budget was slated to have a $450B deficit.  Because of the TARP plan and … (13 comments)

taxes: Flashback Friday and the County Assessors facing reality - 02/05/10 07:56 AM
Last year I wrote about Senate Bill 55 in the Georgia Senate.  Basically, the bill required the Counties to include foreclosures in assessments.  Previously, assessments for taxes excluded foreclosures, so they (falsly?) increased values and tax revenue to the counties.
While that makes it tough for the counties, it is a needed break for home owners.  The counties complained that they would lose revenues... well, the people are losing revenue, too.  They have to suck it up.
In the last year, the bill quietly passed and was signed into law by Governor Sonny Perdue.
Here is the link to the original … (5 comments)

taxes: Condensed Market Reports for Gwinnett County GA (effects of the FTHBTC) - 01/17/10 02:39 PM
I have been sitting here all evening working on Market Reports for Gwinnett County, GA.  They won't be published for a little over a week, but there is a trend I wanted to highlight prior to the release of the reports... 
December is NOT a banner months in Gwinnett County...
November rocked.  There is no getting around it.  Comparing November 2009 to November 2008, sales are showing up around 73%.  November 2008 was rather weak, while December 2008 was strong by comparison. 
December 2009 was actually down over 20% year over year.  As mentioned, December 2008 was a sales blip, but … (2 comments)

taxes: Would this solve the 'Foreclosure Crisis'? - 01/10/10 03:10 PM
It is a simple option... isn't onerous, and doesn't involve the government spending billions of our dollars...
Simply make banks responsible
As it stands, in many jurisdictions, banks aren't responsible for maintenance, taxes, HOA fees or any other impacts their foreclosed properties might have on the community.  So, if a block is foreclosed, the homes go to crap while the banks dither at dealing with the inventory.  The cities lose valuable tax revenue while they are already struggling because of diving property values.  HOAs lose chunks of their budgets trying to maintain properties in their neighborhoods... while not collecting fees from … (22 comments)

taxes: One of the basic problems... - 12/29/09 12:57 PM
Our Congressional "Leaders" don't have a clue about what it takes to run a business, for the most part, anyway.  Too many of these people have never run anything... they have been politicians for too long, and have never had to make a payroll. 
This manifests itself in several ways...
They don't have any idea what the regulations and rules they are creating will do to THE jobs generator... small business.   They don't have any sense of budgetary restraint.  in business, there is only so much revenue, and spending beyond it can't happen for long, but in government, there is no … (12 comments)

taxes: How's This For Job Creation? - 12/12/09 05:47 AM
The first "stimulus" package, now known and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (but lovingly remembered as Porkulus) was an absolute failure and waste of $787 Billion so successful that the Democrats are talking about doing another one. 
Apparently, the act accomplished all that it set out to do except for one thing... creating jobs.  All of the talk of "shovel ready projects" and "infrastructure improvements" from the administration was slightly premature.  While many thought that those types of expenditures were built into that stimulus package, we are now finding out that they weren't... 
When the stimulus bill was being "debated", … (12 comments)

taxes: Gwinnett County Property Taxes... Going Up... - 12/03/09 07:38 AM
On Tuesday, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners approved a millage rate increase for redisents of Gwinnett County.  It will be effective with the March, 2010, Property Tax bill. 
The old millage rate was 10.97, while the new rate is an increase of 21% to 13.25.  This is the first millage increase in Gwinnett County in 13 years, but the county has experienced value growth over that period increasing the amount of the county budget. 
Here are a few more sources with a little more about the story. 
Gwinnett Daily Post
The increase represents about $160 for an average $200,000 … (0 comments)

taxes: Calling Private Briscoe… Gwinnett Airport - 11/25/09 02:45 PM
The Gwinnett County Commission is looking at an offer to privatize Briscoe Field.  Currently, the county owns and runs the airpost, near Lawrenceville, off GA316.  It has an operating budget of about $1,000,000/year.  All of the money generated in fees and leases have to be plowed back into the budget for the airfield.
If it was leased out to a private entity, the company leasing the airfeild would be responsible for all costs, while at the same time they would be paying the county for the privilege.  So, instead of a budget expenditure of just over $1m, there would be a … (0 comments)

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