Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mayoral Candidates Compete To Lower Homestead Credit

When I first got in on this blogging game, I made a promise to myself: if ever I got 48 comments on a post before making another post, I would retire. The last post has 47 comments, so here we are.

Economic theory suggests that countries, or other sovereignties, may engage in a "race to the bottom", a phrase describing a phenomenon of continuous reduction in taxes and regulatory burden that is supposed to attract capital investment to the country that 'finishes first' and has the least burdensome business environment. Think Cayman Island and Swiss bank accounts.

Limitations of the race-to-the-bottom theory usually involve logistical costs. For example, a business or person wouldn't relocate from Annapolis to Annapolis Royal (Canada) for a tenth of a percent off of property taxes. However, a person has great financial incentive to move outside of the Annapolis city limits. I took advantage of this incentive, and I now write the leading "outsider" and the #7 "maverick" blog involving city of Annapolis politics from a non-resident.

The incentive is lower property taxes.

(Post intermission: Property taxes are asinine. So are income taxes, and many more. Consumption (sales) taxes are the most efficient and the most free-market/free-will way to go. I've always felt this way, but then I read the Fair Tax book by Neal Boortz, and now I really feel this way.)

As we know, there are 2 things that determine how much property tax you pay each year: the property tax rate (PTR) and the tax-assessed value (TAV) of your house. For you math lovers:

PTR x TAV = $$$$$$$ out of your pocket

The rate is the more straight-forward of the 2. The council sets the rate in their infinite wisdom and goes on their merry way. But, even if the rate doesn't change, we could still get screwed. Houses are assessed every 3 years. During real estate bubbles, some house values double over that time. Luckily, the government recognizes that people's incomes will almost never double in 3 years, and they offer protection in the form of the Homestead Credit. The state mandates that the assessed value of a property cannot increase by more than 10% each year. Local jurisdictions are free to lower that percentage, but they cannot raise it.

Anne Arundel County has further lowered the Credit to 2%. Race-to-the-bottom theory would suggest that the City of Annapolis might do the same; yet, true to form, the city has left its rate at 10%.

Three aldermen, in the form of 2 separate bills, have sought out to remedy this. Alderman Israel, a mayoral candidate, introduced O-31-08 which would drop the number to 5%. As required by the Republican National Committee, Alderman Cordle (another mayoral candidate) and Alderman Paone (a crafty and rather tall Ward 2 rep with a fan club on this blog) have sponsored O-34-08, which is the same thing except the number is 2%.

I have a hard time believing this is anything other than election strategy (but that doesn't make it bad). All of these people have had plenty of time to officer this ordinance in the past--they didn't, and it's not because they didn't know it was important. In the last mayoral election, Independent Gilbert Renault got like 2,700 votes and finished second to Moyer by only a few hundred--running a campaign that's only issue was lowering the Homestead Credit from 10% to 4%*.

(*"only issue" is a reach, but that was the main thing)

I don't care who passes it, but the lower, the better.


Rich Annapolis Real Estate Lady said...

We, the wealthy, need help paying our taxes and we will vote for relieve

Anonymous said...

I am very glad you are back. In fact, I am so glad to read a new post that I am willing to forgive your need to delve right into your economic geekosity while the Market House debacle and Eric Hartley's article on school board salaries are just SITTING there like fat pigeons. I'm just saying.


Civil Liberty Girl said...

Hey did y'all see the" I live on clay street post" about Clay Street happy hour. If the cops are ignoring the white people drinking alcohol on the sidewalk, and busting blacks on the corner or anywhere in public, we got us some serious problems. Selective enforcement on the basis of race and/or economic status is a very serious matter.

Law and Order Replican said...

civil liberty girl ,

though off topic, very astute observation

Anonymous said...

They're drinking on "THEIR" property. Which is much different than drinking on sidewalks and walking in traffic.

civil liberty girl said...

looks like they were spilling out into the street to me. I have put a call into the APD and Carl Snowden and they are going to monitor the situation. Both agreed it is an atrocity

Anonymous said...

way to protect their civil liberties. =)

Mike M said...

Civil Liberty Girl,

Atrocity....Really. Drinking wine and wearing crazy sunglasses = atrocity. Your name should be "Overreaction Girl".

Maybe when the people at those happy hours start shooting one another and selling drugs the police will pay more attention to them.

But since that is not going to happen the police are a little more inclined to let it pass as the jovial "take back the night/neighborhood", "feel safe on the street" event that it truly is.

Its a good thing you didn't have a race based knee-jerk reaction to that innocuous post/video...oh wait you did.

Law and Order Republican said...

"Selective enforcement on the basis of race and/or economic status is a very serious matter."

I think her point is valid. All women ( or men) are equal in the eyes of the law. Let justice and freedom reign,

Mike M said...

Law and order,

Of course her point is valid, she (and you) is practically paraphrasing the founding fathers.

I'm not saying discrimination is ok, what I'm saying is she is overreacting. She saw a video on a blog and has created a made-for-tv scenario where the evil police by-pass sinister white people sloshing alcohol around irresponsibly and proceed to next corner where a group of black people are conducting a bible study and the police proceed to break out the night-sticks and arrest the whole lot.

How unfair, what an atrocity. Something must be done, I'm calling the police and my alderman. I'm going to make sure these white people never again have a previously planned event to drink wine on the sidewalk in front of their homes in the name of community unity.

The absurdity of her indignation is mind-boggling. Your defending her is almost as absurd. To compare a community event with other members of the community who form ad hoc groups with the intention of using and selling drugs is the most absurd of all. The police intervene in their little get togethers because they have a long history of not being in the name of community unity.

Both of you need to stop drinking the PC kool-aid and start using your heads and applying reason and good judgement when applying the law.

Law and Order Republican said...

There is no gray area, the law on this is clear. I do not believe drinking in public laws have a ' totality of the situtation' clause when assessing whether the law should be enforced.

Liberty is good, but "Ordered Liberty" is what we all must insist on.

ellis said...

It's nice to know I live in the most talked about neighborhood of Annapolis! haha! =)

First, the cops are not ignoring the white people. I can assure you of that one! I see white people arrested on the Clay St area quite frequently. Also, the cops have even stopped me and one of my neighbors recently. I even wrote a blog about it here... but you must have missed it.

The Clay St Happy Hour is an innocent, passive group of neighbors that enjoy sitting outside and chatting with each other on their property. I guess if they had yards, they'd socialize on their yards. Instead, being that they are competitive about their flowerbeds, they hangout on their porches and sidewalks cheerfully boasting to each other about their foliage. I think it's pretty cool they do that. I guess ya missed the video showing off the beautiful flowerbeds that side of Clay St has. I'm quite jealous actually. Wish I had a front porch designed like theirs so I could do the same. Unfortunately, I don't even have a front porch let alone some dirt to put flowers in.

The Happy Hour is just that... "a happy hour"... maybe two hours. I've been to one. We drank wine on the porch after we attended the unveiling of the 100th Habitat For Humanity House of Anne Arundel County. In fact, everyone who put together the Happy Hour was also at that unveiling. I even wrote a blog about that here... but you must have missed that one too. In fact, the Mayor saw us and raised no concerns about us drinking on residential property. We even invited her to have a glass with us but she was busy.

All of the good events happening on Clay Street are 2 fold... first, it's about uniting the neighborhood and getting people out of their houses to mingle with each other. Second, it's about a passive aggressive campaign of taking back the street from the drug dealers who by the way COMMUTE from Baltimore and Washington DC to deal drugs to Annapolis citizens in public housing and abroad. But let's not talk about that, civil liberties girl. That's too tough of an issue to deal with, right? I mean, who cares if drug dealers from other cities are ruining peoples lives in Annapolis... let's attack people drinking on their own property.

And one other point... there are quite a lot of homeowners on Clay St who don't own yards, myself included. We have common areas where we can get together among neighbors and proceed to do whatever we legally want. Having a glass of wine or a beer is one of those things, especially on a nice sunny day or warm evening. I see my black neighbors outside every week hanging out enjoying a cool beer and it's completely legal. Furthermore, check the city zoning laws about alcohol consumption on sidewalks. You might amaze yourself.

CL girl, I suggest that if you have a problem with what is going on down here on Clay St, you should come to the neighborhood and join any of the numerous events that we the homeowners put together and share your fine ideas with us. Crime is way down in our area, people hang out with each other more often, neighbors actually KNOW each other now and the streets are safer. So we clearly must be doing something wrong. Please, come correct us and show us the way. You clearly have your finger on the pulse of the situation.

Oh and as to the subject of this blog... I'm signed up on the Homestead Credit Act. At settlement in May 08, if I remember correctly, it's set to only go up by 2% a year in the event that taxes increase. I think that's the state law. As far as annapolis is concerned, I don't know if they're above that law or not.

Just Ice Man said...

Crime is way down in[ "]our["] area. \

you mean where you people love ?

just Ice Man said...

and live

ellis said...

Yes I love my neighborhood and my neighbors are some really cool people. I'm glad I live down here. The only thing I don't like about my neighborhood is... way too many Dallas Cowboy fans! HAHA! But it makes for some good conversations that i simply can't win since my Redskins ain't all that this year.

And "our area" should be translated as "our area of Annapolis"... the whole neighborhood I live in. From Calvert down to Glenwood highrise. What we call Clay St.

And the more I live here... the more I learn that Annapolis citizens just don't know nothing about Clay St. They are completely disconnected. They only know what the read in the police report. I hope that what we're doing down here can change that disconnect and people start seeing how great of a neighborhood it is. There are some incredibly talented kids in this neighborhood who deserve to live in a safer environment.

republic party boss said...

"incredibly talented kids"

i'm sure they are, uhuh. but they are black and poor. they are responsible for the white flight from public schools!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Law and order,

"There is no gray area". What?? Ask the police, prosecuters, public defendants, and judges and I'm sure they'd tell you otherwise.

You live in a make believe world if you think the law is applied, or should be applied, in a black and white, cut and dry method.

Here are a couple of little examples of gray areas:

Cop attends a BBQ at his neighbors house, witnesses his friend and neighbor let his 14 year old daughter try a sip of wine. Should the cop immediately arrest his friend for supplying alcohol to a minor? Or should he use good judgement and realize a crime actually hasn't occured, but only a father's attempt to sate his daughters curiosity regarding the taste of wine. According to you the father should be arrested.

What about the millions of people who drive by speed traps driving 3 or 4 miles above the speed limit, but are not pulled over and ticketed for speeding? Did the cop use reason and good judgement and wait instead for someone going 15 or 20 miles over the spead limt (a true speeder and a danger)? The answer is yes. Is it a gray area? Yes.

Gray areas do exist and reason and good judgement need to be applied to the law. Law and Order, wake up and join us in a little place called "reality".

Law and Order Republican veteran said...

We will see tomorrow when the cops swoop down on this illegal happy white people hour

Anonymous said...

black --bad


what part of this don't you aclu types understand ?

Anonymous said...

Law and Order,

Let the law swoop down on as you said "illegal happy white people hour".

I guess race is the only thing that concerns you, not the law. Now you're showing your true color in more ways than one.

Are blacks resentful of white people living on Clay St. trying to be happy and make the community a better place? If you and civil liberties girl are any indicator, and I hope you're not, it seems the answer is yes.

Radical Civil rights instigator said...

the blacks are on the verge of a full blown race riot because of the racial profile that goes on in the clay street area. The Police are the problem, not the People.

Whitey Drinks wine said...

No wine at this get together:

林依晨Amber said...