Economics

We're Gonna Keep Americans in Their Homes…and Charge Them a 47% Tax Increase for the Privilege

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As a lifelong renter, I have watched the slow-motion train wreck that is the housing-bubble reflation/bailout with the occasional pang of naked envy: I know for a fact that crooks, deadbeats, and irresponsible goofballs are going to be rewarded for their idiocy with my money, but it stings even harder knowing that I'm ineligible for the scam myself unless and until I buy a house with a federally guaranteed mortgage. Makes it almost tempting to strap on those shackles of a fixed 30-year contract.

That is, until you remember the flipside: If government thinks something as intimate as your own live-in private property is subject to massive wealth transfers in the name of assisting lower-income and minority families, sowing "stability," or preventing the "market failure" of prices coming back down to earth, then you better be damn well prepared for government to look at that same property as the solution to its own problems. Check out what's happening in the famously malgoverned city of Hoboken:

Hoboken's municipal tax levy skyrocketed when the city was taken over by the state of New Jersey because it failed to pass a 2008 municipal budget. To fill budget gaps and a deficit, the state doubled Hoboken's tax levy, from $34 million in fiscal year 2008 to $65 for fiscal year 2009. That sent the property taxes skyrocketing up 47 percent.

Who else is either raising property taxes or thinking about it? The states of Maryland and Utah; Broward County, Pasco County, and various other Florida counties; Loudoun County, West Virginia, and Google knows how many other tax-eating entities. Explains the anti-tax National Center for Property Analysis [pdf]:

Some analysts have predicted that the recent declines in home prices could lead to budget crises for local governments that rely heavily on property tax revenue. "If property values continue falling, there will likely be a combination of three policies taken by local school districts," said [Tax Foundation economist Gerald] Prante. "They may raise property tax rates to replace the revenue, cut government spending, or simply ask for more financial assistance from state and federal governments."

A 2007 Tax Foundation study found that between 1982 and 2004, property taxes nationwide rose from $704 per person to $1,089 per person in 2004 inflation adjusted dollars.

Reason on property tax here.

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  1. Property tax is theft.

  2. Would renters be exempt? I imagine their landlords will simply pass along the added expense in the form of higher rents.

  3. Well, I guess I’ll have to turn in my libertarian decoder ring, ’cause I have to say, for a magazine called Reason, Reason magazine has sucked ever since Virginia Postrel left, and I’m cancelling my subscription because you people are not real libertarians.

    Drink up, bitches!

  4. I’d like to point out that I asked about this just a few days ago.

    It was inevitable. But it’s also a disaster.

  5. Add Iowa to the list of states looking to increase property taxes. Apparently Governor Culver isn’t satisfied with just being in the bottom 10 of business-unfriendly environments. We want that bottom spot, baby!!

  6. Would renters be exempt? I imagine their landlords will simply pass along the added expense in the form of higher rents.

    Generally, no, but in my experience the kinds of places that would see property-owners as cash machines are also the types that “protect” renters from price hikes. Where I live, for example.

  7. That is an interesting alternative way to look at the housing bubble. Perhaps the entire thing was driven by politicians desires to increase taxes.

  8. Who else is either raising property taxes or thinking about it? . . . . Loudon County, West Virginia, and Google knows how many other tax-eating entities.

    Sigh. That’s “Loudoun” County, folks.

  9. Generally, no, but in my experience the kinds of places that would see property-owners as cash machines are also the types that “protect” renters from price hikes. Where I live, for example.

    That is true, the same areas that believe homeowners, utilities, etc, are cash machines tend to protect renters. Also, they tend to view “Multicultural festivals” and similar goofiness as the primary use for tax dollars, and that developers should pay the cost of any deferred maintenance that results from their priorities.

  10. Deeper sigh. Loudoun county is in Virginia, NOT West Virginia, although I admit that Welch’s list was somewhat ambiguous. This mistake was hilarious to those in the know since Loudoun is in the “horse country” of Virginia — where the money lives, and West Virginia is famously impoverished.

    And Matt, even if the property owner can’t raise the rent to cover the property tax increase, he’s going to cut services.

    Ultimately, renters will feel the bite of property tax increases even though it may not be immediate or obvious.

  11. because you people are not real libertarians

    OK, I’ll bite. Who is?

    BTW, I’ll drink tonight.

  12. How can they be considering raising taxes in Md. when they haven’t finished loading in the increased property taxes from the artificially increased value from the federally induced housing bubble in the first place?

    This must be where I thank them double-plus good for not only screwing me, but giving me some good DP action on top of the first screw.

  13. OK, I’ll bite. Who is?

    Eric Dondero. Duh.

  14. Well, duh. Is he/she/it even human?

    Damnit! Now I can’t drink. You’re going to have to do better than that!

  15. Generally, no, but in my experience the kinds of places that would see property-owners as cash machines are also the types that “protect” renters from price hikes. Where I live, for example.

    Well, then, you can expect to see the housing stock decline through deferred maintenance, and a de facto moratorium on new rental properties.

    The same old eating-your-seed-corn, depletion of capital/social reserves that lefty thinking always leads to.

  16. Fixed the Loudouns, thanks and sorry.

  17. I imagine their landlords will simply pass along the added expense in the form of higher rents.

    As usual it depends on the market. Most places are seeing an overall downward pressure on rents as their is an overall surplus in housing stock and rising unemployment (so people are moving out of the region). There are those previous homeowners that are now renters, but they are for the most part by people trying to hold onto their property to wait for the rebound and renting it out in the meantime – even at negative cash flow (because of course it’s still less negative than having zero dollars coming in).

    So depending on how loose the housing market is, landlords may have to absorb the cost. (there is the side issue that many mutli-unit residential developments are actually taxed at a commercial rate rather than at a residential one)

  18. “…they are for the most part counterbalanced by people..”

  19. Do not taunt the Loudouns. You wouldn’t want them angry. They’ll smack you around with one of their fake Georgian-style portico columns from their lavish 5,000 sq. ft. Ryland homes!

  20. Deeper sigh. Loudoun county is in Virginia, NOT West Virginia, although I admit that Welch’s list was somewhat ambiguous. This mistake was hilarious to those in the know since Loudoun is in the “horse country” of Virginia — where the money lives, and West Virginia is famously impoverished.

    Loudoun is also home to (most of) Dulles Airport and a related high-tech corridor.

    (Sorry, Matt, but I still see “West Virginia” in the post.)

  21. When I lived there, we used to call it “Hobroken.”

  22. I can see how DC-Californian-French coastal elitist would make the West Virginia mistake; it’s like how Manhattanites consider anything north of Yonkers ‘upstate’.

  23. renters will feel the bite of property tax increases

    My own rent has mirrored the housing bubble. At its height my lease increased 15% in one year, but last November it was renewed without an increase. And no, where I live “rent control” is a foreign term. Not that there are not a few subsidized communities here and there.

  24. Michigan has an interesting situation. Several years ago it passed a property-tax reform initiative known as the Headlee Amendment, which limited the year-to-year rate of property tax increase to X% (I forget), absent a transfer or a reassessment due to improvements.

    For years, taxes have lagged well behind what they would have been had they directly tracked assessed valuations.

    When property values started to fall, homeowners still saw their taxes go up, and up again the next year, because of the differential that had built up from the Headlee limitation — the tax was still allowed to increase by that X%, since the allowable increase had been well below the market for so long, and could now catch up.

  25. I live in Hoboken. I have been attending city council meetings – Here is a link to some awesome video from what goes on there. The lady being yelled at by the council woman is my friend, who had the temerity to propose cutting some of the 50% of the fire department who have upper management jobs.

  26. BTW – thanks Matt Welch for bringing attention to my sorry town’s sorry plight. We are well and truly fucked.

  27. Ed, the city has made a special provision for landlords to pass a surcharge along to renters. So much for their lease contracts.

  28. To take the cake – last council meeting they decided to study a “redevelopment” of 19 city blocks. I assume they will propose building luxury condominiums just to completely oversaturate the market and really push the bottom out. Oh, and they will be using Eminent domain. I live in a libertarian nightmare.

  29. I live in a libertarian nightmare.

    As do we all, domo. As do we all.

  30. I look forward to President Teleprompter’s renter bailout. What will I get?
    Hell, just being recognized as a human would be a start.

  31. Domo,

    Ouch. Sorry to hear of your plight.

    Bravo to your friend for speaking out.

  32. Yes. Hoboken is a shithole. We all remember the disastrous municipal response to the Great Chicken Emergency of 1977.

  33. Wait a minute, guys! We can’t raise property taxes, because that would be in conflict with our goal of artificially propping up real estate values (which is in conflict with our goal of unfreezing credit markets, which is in conflict with our goal stabilizing Fannie and Freddie, which is in conflict with?).

    So what we really need to do here is develop a Federal bailout for ALL municipalities in America and fund it with more Federal borrowing. That way we can postpone the day of reckoning to at least beyond the next election cycle. No reason to think the Ponzi scheme has to unravel just yet. After all, the Japanese and Chinese are still buying Treasuries! Or are they?

  34. Tonio – she’s a tough cookie. We’ve been working hard to shine a light on the crap that goes on. Unfortunately, the voter dynamic is a true “bread and circuses” clusterfuck. Homeowners are outraged – but they are only 20% of the votes – wheras the people in waaaay below market rate public housing are a lot more, and vote the worst possible panderers in again and again.

  35. We all remember the disastrous municipal response to the Great Chicken Emergency of 1977.

    Pinkwater FTW.

  36. Here is a link to some awesome video from what goes on there

    That was awesome. People sleepwalk through our council meetings. I feel cheated somehow.

  37. Californicate’s sole saving grace is Prop 13.

    Otherwise we’d be the highest taxed serfs in the known world.

    Loudoun is also home to (most of) Dulles Airport and a related high-tech corridor.

    I detest that airport.

  38. Well, then, you can expect to see the housing stock decline through deferred maintenance, and a de facto moratorium on new rental properties.

    Agreed. Like where Matt lives. 🙂

    I’ve seen the DC housing stock on 50 heading out of DC to Maryland. There is nothing, not even in the worst armpits of Los Angeles, that can compare. Now, my Ma says they’ve cleaned it up a bit since I was last there, so that observation may not be as valid as it was.

  39. They want to raise property tax by 13% here in Seattle WA.

    As if I’m not taxed enough as it is. I pay 1200 a year to send other peoples brats to a failing school system. outstanding.

    We pay some of the highest fuel tax here as well.

    Gotta love being taxed with out representation!


    “The idea of achieving security through national armament is, at the present state of military technique, a disastrous illusion.” -Albert Einstein

    http://www.campaignforliberty.com/

  40. And they (DC) want voting representatives. Yikes.

  41. “There is nothing, not even in the worst armpits of Los Angeles, that can compare.”

    The worst I’ve ever seen is the housing you see from the windows of the Amtrak when it goes through Baltimore. Looks like a third world country.

  42. TWC–A little, but not much. While its a far cry from 20 years ago, I still wouldn’t walk around there at night. There are other spots in DC that have gentrified far more than the NY Ave. corridor.

  43. The worst I’ve ever seen is the housing you see from the windows of the Amtrak when it goes through Baltimore. Looks like a third world country.

    *Looks?*

  44. “Makes it almost tempting to strap on those shackles of a fixed 30-year contract.”

    That’s sure an odd perspective. Why do you find it preferable to piss your money away in rent with nothing to show for it other than access to shelter?

    I own my house outright (no mortgage or home equity loan) and if I had to fork over $1,500 on rent every month, I’d never stop vomiting.

    Instead of an annual outlay of $18,000 per year, with its concomitant perpetual emesis, I am able to save and invest 40% of my gross income and keep down my lunch.

  45. “annual outlay of $18,000 per year”

    I’m also a big fan of redundancy.

  46. “annual outlay of $18,000 per year”

    I’m also a big fan of redundancy.

  47. “”There is nothing, not even in the worst armpits of Los Angeles, that can compare.”

    The worst I’ve ever seen is the housing you see from the windows of the Amtrak when it goes through Baltimore. Looks like a third world country.”

    DETROIT

  48. I own my house outright (no mortgage or home equity loan) and if I had to fork over $1,500 on rent every month, I’d never stop vomiting.

    What do you pay each month in property tax?

  49. All government services are essential.

    “We’ve gone over this budget with a fine-toothed comb, and there just isn’t anything left to cut.”

  50. It’s absurd to think that renters are immune to property taxes. The effect is not as direct as “taxes go up, renters pay more immediately”, but it’s a cost of doing business, and it will get thrown in the mix with all the other factors that determine rents.

  51. “What do you pay each month in property tax?”

    approximately $150, which is a lot cheaper than $1,500.

  52. Looks like a third world country.

    Looks? The Wire has a lot of truth about Charm City. Heck, O’Malley won the governorship of MD with an ad campaign of “When I came in, Baltimore was really shitty. It still pretty much sucks, but, hey, it’s getting better” (paraphrased).

    OTOH, if the rates are going up on homes that are valued at less than they were, that doesn’t mean that the overall tax payments have to go up much. Sure, people feel poorer because of the value of their homes, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re paying a greater percentage of their income in taxes.

    So that by itself isn’t the fundamental problem. The problem is more that people let their taxes up to pay for more services when they felt wealthy because their home prices kept increasing.

    I assume they will propose building luxury condominiums just to completely oversaturate the market and really push the bottom out.

    The sad thing is, the market isn’t oversaturated. Not in California, not in Northern Virginia, not in any of the bubble markets. Prices are down, yes, but prices are still far above where they would be in an unregulated housing market. (And where they are in relatively unregulated housing markets, such as in much of TX and NC.) Eminent domain is bad, but so is zoning and land-use restrictions. Prices need to fall even further.

  53. The Hoboken tax levy on a 500k assessed home could be 3000k/year or 20k – depending on if you are friends with the mayor.

  54. How about repairs, Lynn? Landscaping expenses? Water bill? I doubt your home is free. Not that you are not to be commended for having and paying for one.

  55. when we keep spending ridiculous amounts of money on things like The war in Iraq and Afghanistan we need to get the money from somewhere. Cut funding, Cut this, Cut that.

    Wait, you say things aren’t cut? Well as everything starts to cost more, and the government doesn’t pay out more to the original parties, TADA! Same thing again.

  56. “What do you pay each month in property tax?”

    approximately $150, which is a lot cheaper than $1,500.

    What the hell? Seriously, please explain.

  57. That’s sure an odd perspective. Why do you find it preferable to piss your money away in rent with nothing to show for it other than access to shelter?

    It’s mostly about flexibility. My take-home pay has fluctuated violently my whole life, so I’d rather not fix a (high) monthly cost into the unknown future. Among other things, that would change my approach to work, and I don’t want to do that. Also, renting has allowed me to live in neighborhoods in both L.A. and D.C. that I’d never be able to afford as a buyer.

    But I’m idiosyncratic about money stuff. Never made a car payment, never had more than maybe 10% of my money in equities, and so on.

  58. waldo,
    Most of the posters here want to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We also want to cut domestic spending. We’re consistent.

    Besides, every good leftist like yourself knows that government spending doesn’t have to efficient, just stimulating. And there’s nothing more stimulating than a war!

  59. approximately $150, which is a lot cheaper than $1,500.

    Where the hell do you live? Alaska?

  60. Also, renting has allowed me to live in neighborhoods…I’d never be able to afford as a buyer

    I agree 100%. I live in a city (Boca Raton) that’s full of millionaires, and I reap all the rewards (low crime, clean streets, no bums, great restaurants) without having to pay the expenses. Yes, I’m a leach, a half-mile from the beach.

  61. Real estate ownership is not an automatic wealth creator. IMO, if one invests solely on the basis of expected appreciation, one had better be a damn good market timer and have some luck as well.

    There are real estate investors who claim that they would not bother unless the property in question has both (1) a positve cash flow and (2) a decent cash on cash return.

  62. How about repairs, Lynn? Landscaping expenses? Water bill? I doubt your home is free.

    Water: $80/mo
    Nat Gas $150/mo
    Electric: $65/mo
    Total Util: $295
    Prop Tax: $150/mo

    Grand Total $445/mo

    So as long as I don’t spend more than another $1,055/month on maintenence, I figure I’m ahead of the game were I a renter.

    “approximately $150, which is a lot cheaper than $1,500.”

    Minneapolis (and that’s $150/month or $1800/year)

    “Also, renting has allowed me to live in neighborhoods in both L.A. and D.C. that I’d never be able to afford as a buyer.”

    I can understand that. Ten years ago I lived in a rental property in Atlanta’s Druid Hills neighborhood. Starter houses were selling for about $800K. $3-5M homes were common. I could never have lived there as a home owner. But I could walk my dog at 3:00 am.

  63. I could walk my dog at 3:00 am.

    If that’s your idea of a good time 😉

  64. I live in Hoboken too…for those of you complaining about $1500 for property tax, mine should be about $24k this year after the increase (our schools spend $26k per student). For an apartment. That’s not even that big. But since the city does not reassess properties in order to protect the people who were born and raised there, the newcomers foot the bills. What a 1 square mile city with less that 50,000 people needs a $100 million budget for, I don’t know–other than padding people’s pockets.

  65. Druid Hills

    Weird question for anyone reading this thread:

    When I lived in the ATL, I used to refer to Druid Hills as “Doodad Hills”. It was some sort of 80s pop culture reference (the Smurfs maybe?) but I dont remember what reference. And yet I still cant read Druid Hills without thinking Doodad Hills. Anyone able to help out? Where did that come from? Its going to drive me crazy.

  66. skeleton – ever post here before?

  67. was talking (yelling) with Beth Mason the other night about her inane plans for redevelopment of the western edge – it emerged that the last property re-val was in 1988.

  68. I live in Hoboken too…for those of you complaining about $1500 for property tax, mine should be about $24k this year after the increase (our schools spend $26k per student). For an apartment. That’s not even that big.

    Sweet jebus! Why the hell do you still live there?

  69. Sweet jebus! Why the hell do you still live there?

    cheaper than Manhattan, and short commute – once upon a time it was relatively easy to make 3-400k on wall street.

  70. I hasten to add – not that I ever did anywhere near that well.

  71. cheaper than Manhattan, and short commute

    Wrong, sucker. You just have to find the right deal.

  72. I could live in Manhattan and find a cheaper place – but my commute would likely be just as long unless I got very lucky. That said, I may move and do exactly that.

  73. oh, and city income tax is ridiculous.

  74. Holy shit, Skeleton. The tax burden in Hoboken is $20,000 a head?

  75. RC Dean

    It’s 20k for the yuppies who bought during the last 5 years – maybe 20% of the population. They pay the bills for the other 80% who pay practically nothing.

  76. Holy shit, Skeleton. The tax burden in Hoboken is $20,000 a head?

    RC, I was paying $10,000 a year in Orange County, which is an hour and a half north of Manhattan.

    I could live in Manhattan and find a cheaper place – but my commute would likely be just as long unless I got very lucky. That said, I may move and do exactly that.

    Dude, the Upper East Side has express buses specifically for Wall St. And these are the comfortable Greyhound type buses, and not the M2. Just a few dollars more.

  77. Upper easy is probably where I’ll land if I can ditch my condo.

  78. Ho? Ho Broken?

    *recites prayer*

    “Lord, please pray for the soul of this bitch. And guide my pimp hand and make it strong, Lord. So that she might learn a ho’s place. Amen.”

  79. Based on the military housing allowance calculator, it’s more expensive to rent in Hoboken than in Honolulu.

    Wow.

  80. by far

  81. The Obama Markets: On Election Day 2008, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 9,625.On Inauguration Day 2009, the DJIA closed at 7,949.09.Today the Dow is at 7,342. Make him stop!!!

  82. domoarrigato-1:53

    Don’t be so modest! What, are you afraid that the IRS monitors these here boards?

  83. Some analysts have predicted that the recent declines in home prices could lead to budget crises for local governments that rely heavily on property tax revenue.

    Yeah, absolutely 100% untrue. The government is in control of tax assessments, and they can assess the value of your house at whatever they want. The county raised the value of my home $58,000 in a down-market year. I can’t imagine how much it’ll go up next year.

  84. domo, do you want to shit your pants?

    I had a three room apartment at 84th and York. The kitchen was huge, and had a large window leading out to the roof of the laundry next door, which therefore functioned as a huge porch. The apartment was about 75 feet long (all three rooms in a row) and overlooked York.

    The rent? Started at $1300/month. I shit you not.

  85. Epi – I may cry. When was that, and how did you swing it?

  86. The rent? Started at $1300/month. I shit you not.

    Dude… what year?

    I was paying $1,400 a month for a two bedroom apartment in Seattle in 1998 with a view of the parking lot. Was it a rent control apartment?

  87. libertymike,

    Back in the day, that was the plan – but the Bear Stearns merger/failure derailed my plans somewhat…

  88. It was 1997. It was not rent controlled.

    In NYC, landlords are supposed to have their phone number displayed in the lobby. I wanted out of my shitty studio on 79th, and there was no fucking way I was going to pay a broker fee. So I walked up and down 80th through 85th and wrote down the number of every place that looked ok. I then called every number and asked if they had anything available.

    90% said “no” or “we go through brokers only”. But a few said “yeah, we have something”. The first one I went to was the one. At first I thought the kitchen was the whole place, and then I saw the archway leading to the other two rooms and said “I want it NOW.”

    The reason it was so cheap is that the owner was not doing the renting. He had hired some shitty firm to do that and they just didn’t seem to care any more, so the guy just threw $1300 out and I grabbed it. The landlord fired that firm soon after, for obvious reasons.

    That place used to blow people’s minds.

  89. O’Malley won the governorship of MD with an ad campaign of “When I came in, Baltimore was really shitty. It still pretty much sucks, but, hey, it’s getting better” (paraphrased).

    And subsequently it was shown that he cooked the data to arrive at that conclusion. Just for record purposes. Technically his Chief of Police took the fall for him, if you’re a real purist. I guess it’s better than the current mayor, though, who has current legal issues.

  90. nice one. based on your description, I’d bet it rents for 6-7k today.

  91. nice one. based on your description, I’d bet it rents for 6-7k today.

    Whoa, have rentals skyrocketed since I was there? Based on old estimates I would have said 3-4K max. The layout isn’t great because it’s all a straight line, there was very little closet space, and very little counter space in the kitchen (though it was so big I just added a butcher block counter and a portable dishwasher with butcher block top). But it sure had square footage.

    It was renovated as soon as I moved out, though, to jack the rent even more.

  92. My buddy used to rent a place low 70’s and lex – it was a rodent infested shithole – about 500 sf with disgusting appliances. he paid 3200/mo. He did have outdoor space, though it was so run down, you wouldn’t want to hang out back there.

  93. Listening to you guys and your hideously bad and overpriced urban real estate makes me want to get home, pour something old and Scottish, fire up a stogie, and hang on the wraparound porch, enjoying the sunset over the Concho River valley while the deer sneak onto my yard to eat acorns under the live oaks.

    May need a light sweater, seeing as its the dead of winter and all.

  94. Low 70s and Lex is more expensive because of the proximity to the subway. I had no vermin, though. Some electrical issues but I threatened the landlord and he fixed them.

    My suggestion to anyone is to do what I did in the neighborhood you think you want to live in. But you’ve got to be ready for a lot of failed calls and going back out and walking more blocks for more numbers.

  95. Sec. 3. Functions. The principal functions of the Office are, to the extent permitted by law:

    (b) to coordinate all aspects of urban policy

  96. Hoboken can’t make ends meet!? WFT That town is all upper middle class yuppies who work in Downtown and Midtown. Oh, wait, now I see. It’s a ramification of the banking sector lay offs.

  97. jtuf,

    That town is all upper middle class yuppies

    Only from sinatra drive to willow street – west of there is pretty much section 8.

  98. I should say that I’m not 100% sure yet what my tax bill is yet–the city hasn’t finished assessing. It was supposed to be 16k but now with the increase, we’ll see if that sticks or not.

    Domo – no I haven’t posted before, but I read this all the time.

    jtuf – for every tax bill like mine there is someone in Hoboken (like a local city council member, for example) paying about $900 in taxes.

    Jordan – I did just buy a new place and I really like it. My old place had taxes of 8k from when I bought about 6 years ago. I have to live somewhere and I don’t want a long commute to NYC. If I sold my place, I’d take a hit on it now and just as everything got done, the tax increase came. Moving in Hoboken basically means that you have to pay more taxes.

    The city is required to do a reval every 10 years, but the last one done was 1988. I think that every new property owner should file a property tax challenge until they do it.

  99. Good luck. I post here all the time. also at Hoboken411 under a different nick. I’ve been active with LowerHobokenTaxes.com, and with Hoboken Revolt. I hope you get involved and help fight this thing. I fear there will be no acceptable mayoral candidate – Dawn Z is probably my favorite so far – but far from perfect.

  100. I post over at H411 sometimes. I’m trying to get everyone to vote in this election, but like you say, it’s tough to figure out who to vote for in this town. I voted for Roberts way back when, since he wasn’t Russo and look what that got us. Ugh, an 8th grader who has taken a civics class could govern Hoboken more effectively than any of the putzes we have there now.

  101. Cool, well im outa here for the day – keep in touch – you can find me at lowerhobokentaxes.com – im on the steering committee there.

  102. Epi’s apartment was cheap?

    I read his description and thought, damn, that is expensive.

  103. Would renters be exempt? I imagine their landlords will simply pass along the added expense in the form of higher rents.

    If they can. The market sets rents, not landlords, and I know plenty of Florida residential landlords who have been squeezed to death by massive increases in property taxes.

  104. Matt Welch,
    Hat’s off to you for always being a renter.
    I succumbed to the lure of the Peter Principle and was a homeowner back during the mid-70’s.
    Hated it!
    Steadily rising property values is one thing (as a goal), but otherwise talented folks doing their own lawn care?
    Oh, the humanity!
    People need to be mingling; not diddling with their “nest.”

  105. One of the things I am especially enjoying about this crash is being able to express my disgust with the federal government through my financial decisions.

    They want me to buy a house and be in hock to them via some bank intermediary? Fuck that, I’ve got ten years of rent saved up and I’m not buying even so much as a shack in Arkansas until they let the market clear.

    They want me to have faith in their bailouts of the banking system? Fuck that, I’m taking as much as I can *out* of the banking system and putting it in T-bill funds and puts on the same companies they want me to patronize and support with my tax dollars.

    They want me to believe in a fiat dollar and benevolent central bank tinkering from now to eternity? Fuck that, I’ve got a little portion of my net worth in precious metals and firearms so I won’t be one of the ones left without a chair if the music stops on that con game all of a sudden.

  106. Graphite,
    You apparently don’t understand the value of the collective spirit. You are being most uncooperative. Stay where you are. Agents will be there shortly to educate you on the duty of citizens to The State.

  107. Thank God for the housing bubble; without it I might well have bought a house a few years back, before I realized how monstrous property taxes are in my state. If my three-bedroom apartment were an identical condo, the property taxes I’d have to pay each month would only be about $100 a month less than what I pay now in rent. And of course, there would be condo fees, and I’d be responsible for repairs and winter shoveling and all the other owner responsibilities.

    A couple towns over from me, the *average* property tax bill is over $600 per *month.* (That’s wasn’t a typo: six hundred dollars per month.) And when revaluations happen, you can find your tax bill increasing by several hundred dollars a month overnight.

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