Realtor UpTick

There's been a marked uptick in NC Realtor and Homebuilder attempts to derail the local transfer tax option as they make a final attempt to secure the low ground. Attacking Chris Fitzsimon in radio ads yesterday, a new round of melodramatic TV ads and a full page ad in today's paper attacking everybody who is not feeding at the bottom with them.

Numbers Game

Finally got hold of actual lobbying reports filed last Monday. In June the North Carolina Association of Realtors reported spending $109,554.04 bringing their running total for 2007 to $669,938.40. To date I haven't included compensation to lobbyists but since realtors decided to do that for the Partnership for North Carolina's Future I'll give you the numbers. They report spending $63,050 on their 6 lobbyists while NC Homebuilders report $19,498 on their 5 lobbyists. The Homebuilders also reported giving the Realtors $70,000 for their campaign plus $15,470 on other expenses. Not reported to the Secretary of State are amounts spent by the Homebuilders Association of Raleigh/ Wake County which, according to the N&O has spent at least $75,000 running TV ads in Raleigh directing people to the Realtors' campaign website. PAC reports are due Friday at the State Board of Elections.

Tangled Web

If you're wondering why State Legislators are not responding to your emails you might want to thank Rep. Dan Blue, Sen. Richard Stevens and Ken Eudy of Capstrat. They are members of the Board of Advisors of NewMedia which is running the online component of the Stop The NC Home Tax campaign. Their software system is responsible for sending 40,000 emails from 40,000 realtors to members of the House and Senate. Ostensibly a contact management & web management company playing both sides of the aisle the start-up company appears to lean to the right (founder Zach Clayton wanted UNC to include Sam Walton's biography on the reading list alongside Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickled and Dimed"). Capstrat of course is a consultant to the Realtors' opponents in this fight, the Partnership for North Carolina's future. Talk about creating a market. The NC Realtors are apparently the first to capitalize on the potential of this young company. It's only a matter of time until all the tubes are clogged with astroturf provided by YOUR Political Consultant®* (*offer valid only while payments continue, actual snark but expect Nathan Tabor to actually register this.)

APFO, Moratorium, Impact Fee

Get ready to hear these terms more often if realtors' and homebuilders' efforts to defeat a transfer tax option are successful. The most immediate impact of success in their statewide campaign to sideline your vote on a local transfer tax option will be pressure to increase county property tax and sales tax. Whatever number of North Carolinians oppose a transfer tax, a large majority is bound to oppose increases in property or sales tax. This will leave homebuilders in the cross hairs for funding of schools and infrastructure associated with growth without the fig leaf they had while being seduced by the NC Realtors.

Desperate Housebuilders

Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch responds to a new Homebuilders ad attacking him. It seems the realtors and homebuilders don't know the difference between a state and a county. Of course they don't know the difference between 0.4 percent and 6.0 percent.
New levels of distortion

The realtors and homebuilders continue their attacks in the now desperate effort to deny people the right to vote on how to build schools in their own communities.
The latest attack comes as a radio commercial against this columnist by name, trying to use my past opposition to a statewide referendum on the lottery to somehow prove that my support for letting local communities vote on a transfer tax is inconsistent.
Tim Minton of the Homebuilders is the voice of the ad and says he wants to set the record straight. If only that were true.

 

Comments

Greg

Any guidance on whom specifically we should be contacting right now? The Ticks new radio effort feels like an act of desperation.

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I need a list

I know we probably already have one on here somewhere. Ashamed to say I don't even know who my rep/sen are right now. I forgot to look them up. Is there a particular committee or do we need to contact everyone?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Contact

If I knew the exact answer I probably wouldn't be posting. :)

I never like form letter systems but here's one the Partnership has set up:

Contact Your Legislators

Act Now for North Carolina's Future

Legislators are in the final days of negotiations on budget issues, and so far no concrete solution has been found for dealing with our state’s infrastructure needs. As a part of the ongoing discussions, legislative leaders are considering whether or not to give local communities an opportunity to vote on a real estate transfer tax to help address these growing needs. If approved by the legislature, people in each county would have an opportunity to vote on the issue, which could provide additional funding to invest in local infrastructure needs and hold down rising property taxes.

The proposal has currently stalled and members of the Senate and House need to hear from you. Contact your legislators today and urge them to give local communities the right to vote on this important issue.

Please email your legislators today and them to support giving local communities the right to vote on a real estate transfer tax.

Contact Your Legislators

I've been all over the State and some of my most vivid memories are not the high growth counties like Wake and Union but sparsely populated counties like Bertie and Hyde with declining, aging populations. They can't run their counties on property tax alone without a downward spiral. They need other options to maintain their services and grow even a little.

 
Stop the NC Association of Realtors
Polluting our State Legislature with money.

Basically, we just need to contact everyone, then

Okie doke.....will get right on it.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Post Haste

The quick red fox jumps down over the lazy bluedog.

There's the cryptic answer. Try that that on a keyboard, posthaste.

 
Stop the NC Association of Realtors
Polluting our State Legislature with money.

And you got

all the letters with that! good job!

The quick red fox jumps down over the lazy bluedog.

Here's my letter/email

I'm sending it as an email and a letter. I also posted it at NCPolitico.....titled "Keep Property Taxes Low, Say YES to the one-time transfer tax" (sorry this is long)

Dear NC Legislator,

Please support the transfer tax legislation and give local governments a reasonable method for funding infrastructure and services required to support growth in our communities.

A continued increase in property taxes will eventually push low and fixed income residents out of their homes. A one-time transfer tax will take the burden of supporting new growth off of these homeowners and place it on the shoulders of those creating the demand for more services and those putting a strain on existing infrastructure.

As a recent home seller and home buyer, I wouldn't have enjoyed paying this tax, but I would have understood why it is necessary. Do you?

I moved from Mecklenburg County. Our roads are falling apart and city services are being cut for lack of tax dollars to pay for them. Many low and fixed income residents are already facing a property tax bill that is much too high. What will happen to them if local governments do not find another means to pay for the increased strain on our roads, schools, police, fire...well, you get the picture, right?

What good will come from the transfer tax?

Better roads. I like nice smooth roads. There's less wear and tear on my car and I don't have to replace the tires as often. That's good for my pocketbook and the environment. I get better gas mileage. Again, another good thing for the environment and my wallet. There are fewer car accidents which in theory should reduce insurance rates, or at least keep them from rising as quickly. My wallet really likes this one.

Bigger and better equipped police force. I like being safe and so do people who travel to this area for business or pleasure. A low crime rate helps bring visitors to our state and can spur growth which helps expand our tax base.

Adequate, safe and well-equipped schools. Have you ever sat in one of those dark, dreary trailers for several hours? They're awful. Why do we want to continue to put our children through this every single day? What business wants to relocate to North Carolina when most elementary schools are hidden behind a yard packed full of trailers? Do you think the employees they bring with them will want to send their children to these schools? What if the teachers don't have enough text books, manipulatives or desks? What if there aren't enough functioning computers readily accessible for students? What if the media center doesn't have enough books or the books haven't been updated in 20 years? Most of our schools are struggling to provide our children with the basics. It's time to find the financial resources to change this.

These are just three areas that will see the benefit of a new source of funding. The alternative is to continue to raise property taxes or adjust the value of homes upward. This hurts those living on a fixed income and lower income homeowners every single year. A one-time transfer tax is only levied when the property is sold and the amount of the transfer tax is much smaller than many already pay in property taxes. For many properties, it will easily be absorbed by the sale price of the home.

I don't have a million dollars to pay a marketing firm to flood your email with 40,000 emails and I don't have the clout to threaten to run someone against you if you don't bend to my will. I do have two children that I'm trying to raise in this state and I want them to be well-educated, safe and happy. I'm doing my part and I hope you'll do yours by giving my county the authority to raise the money it needs through a transfer tax in order to provide safe roads, a well-funded and well-equpped police force, adequate class space and well-equipped schools, parks for recreation and adequate funding to support and grow all the other public services most of us take for granted.

Thank you for your honest consideration of my request.

Sincere regards,

Betsy



Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Well, at least someone got it right in my home town

From a Press Release in my inbox:

DAVIDSON CANDIDATE for MAYOR ENDORSES TRANSFER TAX on REALTY TRANSACTIONS

William E. "Bill" Jackson, Jr., candidate for mayor in Davidson's November
election, today became the first north Mecklenburg candidate to endorse
legislation before the General Assembly that would permit local governments
to hold a referendum over imposing a tax on sales of real estate--or "land
transfer" tax:

"As I have often said, towns and counties must learn to stand up to the
all-powerful lobby of developers and their allies represented by the REBIC
lobby. Like Gov. Mike Easley and Mecklenburg County Commission Chair
Jennifer Roberts, I stand with the taxpayers who are tired of paying for
infrastructure costs associated with the building and sale of real estate.
This is one way to check runaway growth, and yet encourage that additional
taxes--other than property--be used to pay for schools," Jackson said.

Jackson added:

"The land transfer tax option would empower counties and municipalities to
address head on the issues of runaway growth, overcrowded schools,
and--indirectly--traffic congestion."

"The property tax option can be squeezed too often to raise taxes. And,
especially for the small college town of Davidson, the land transfer tax is
far superior to promoting yet more commercial growth under the heading of
broadening the tax base."

The transfer tax proposal in the new state budget would not force a tax; it
gives counties the option to hold a referendum on it.

William E. Jackson, Jr.
Davidson

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

This is troubling.

If you're wondering why State Legislators are not responding to your emails you might want to thank Rep. Dan Blue, Sen. Richard Stevens and Ken Eudy of Capstrat. They are members of the Board of Advisors of NewMedia which is running the online component of the Stop The NC Home Tax campaign. Their software system is responsible for sending 40,000 emails from 40,000 realtors to members of the House and Senate.

They are spamming the legislators into ignoring their email? I assume they didn't have the permission of the 40,000 realtors they simply "acted on their behalf"?

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

So, let's go to the phones

...and if they tie up the phones, get in your damn cars and drive to Raleigh.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Ken Eudy

In his defense, he has been very involved in the pro-transfer tax vote campaign.

Now NewMedia Campaigns is a bit more chameleon-like. I know some of the people who run it and they don't have any ideological standards.They work for Democrats and Republicans. They worked for the latest pro-bond campaign in Wake County and now the anti-transfer tax campaign. Brad Crone must like their work.

I work with Ken

and as near as I can tell, he's doing what we would want on the transfer tax issue: delivering a ton of contacts by email (and other ways) to legislators encouraging them to support the transfer tax.

Criticizing New Media Campaigns is sort of like (but not exactly) criticizing FedEx or the Postal Service for delivering stuff.

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Is It Really?

Looks like a conflict of interest to me:

Rep. Dan Blue, Sen. Richard Stevens and Ken Eudy of Capstrat. They are members of the Board of Advisors of NewMedia which is running the online component of the Stop The NC Home Tax campaign.

Nothing like bought and paid for, eh?

Image from outside

Most insiders would agree about what they think NewMedia does, however, in this case I think NewMedia Campaigns is too involved with the message.

This campaign in particular is more about appearances than substance. In that context the prominent and interwoven appearance of the NewMedia Campaigns logo on the Stop The NC Home Tax website makes their involvement implicit.

All the form "letters to the editor" have the name of NewMedia co-founder Joel Sutherland in the Word document properties. The medium is part of the message.

From what I hear they are smart young guys and they obviously have smart advisors. I think they could get all the smart heads together and act more like FedEx than FoxNews.

 
Stop the NC Association of Realtors
Polluting our State Legislature with money.

why are they called ticks?

The bloodsucking?

Immune response

I wasn't going to go there. Rhymes with tax and they require a host for survival.

Although several hosts mount efficient anti-tick immunity, natural tick/host associations are characterized by inefficient or non-existent anti-tick immunity. The absence of efficient anti-tick immunity in natural hosts could result from either host immune incompetence or the ectoparasite's successful evasion of the host's immune response.

 
Stop the NC Association of Realtors
Polluting our State Legislature with money.

Transfer Tax Holdouts

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/648581.html

Transfer tax holdouts in 'swing' districts
Democrats who don't want the option in budget face Realtors' ads in their contested districts

State Sen. Joe Sam Queen knows about the campaign clout of Realtors. Their political action committee gave his opponent $3,000 in the last election and, a month after Queen defeated him, the PAC sent a $3,000 check to Queen's campaign.
But that's not the reason, Queen said, that he is among several Senate Democrats -- many of whom represent politically competitive districts -- who do not want to see language in the state budget that would let local voters decide whether to adopt a land transfer tax in their county. Queen said he looks at home equity as one of the three keys to prosperity. The other two are a good job and a sound education.

"That's a formula for entering the middle class," said Queen, a Haywood County Democrat.

Senate leader Marc Basnight, a Manteo Democrat, said last week that about seven or eight Democrats in his chamber said they would not vote for it as part of the budget.

He did not identify the senators, but interviews with Queen and others show that those who are in contested "swing" districts are reluctant to vote for a budget that includes the transfer tax option. Their districts are being hit with ads funded by the Realtors that tell residents to "Fight the Home Tax."

"I think it would be nice if we had a separate bill where that could be debated," said Sen. Walter Dalton, a Rutherfordton Democrat who received $8,500 from the Realtors' PAC in 2006, according to campaign finance reports. He is not running for re-election, but he has set his sights on the lieutenant governor's office.

The battle over the proposal is not one-sided. Advocates for the transfer tax, which include municipal associations, road builders and general contractors, are spending six figures on lobbying and media campaigns.

Easley said Friday that the Realtors might have intimidated legislators into opposing the land transfer tax option. But Senate Democrats who don't like the idea say they are not intimidated. They say they worry that it might hurt homeowners and depress construction.

"We've had two plant closings in my county and a plant closing in Graham County," said Sen. John Snow, a Cherokee County Democrat. "A lot of the slack in the economy has been taken up by the Realtors and home builders."

Snow received $3,250 from the Realtors' PAC in the last election, according to campaign finance reports.

Follow the money...

huh?

His argument is that he doesnt want to hurt home ownership, so he is going to say that counties shouldnt be able to choose a transfer tax, and instead should increase property taxes. Its either property taxes or something else, and he aint gonna vote for any other type of tax, so property tax it is.

This is like saying we wont be sending boats to help evacuate people from a flood because they might fall out of the boat and get wet.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

We Can't Help if They Won't Tell

He did not identify the senators, but interviews with Queen and others show that those who are in contested "swing" districts are reluctant to vote for a budget that includes the transfer tax option. Their districts are being hit with ads funded by the Realtors that tell residents to "Fight the Home Tax."

Fight Fair or Run Scared - which is it?

We the People Need to Know

We know 3 holdouts

are Queen, Snow, and Dalton, if I read the article correctly. We can start with them.

Unbelievable

Queen, Snow, and Dalton

What's Dalton afraid of?
Maybe he should check his email sometime.

Dalton, now a target?

Is this enough to move him OUT of contention for our support and into the target category?

"I think it would be nice if we had a separate bill where that could be debated," said Sen. Walter Dalton, a Rutherfordton Democrat who received $8,500 from the Realtors' PAC in 2006, according to campaign finance reports. He is not running for re-election, but he has set his sights on the lieutenant governor's office.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

He can rule out a promotion

He will never make it out of the Democratic primary with positions like this.

there is a reason

I have said I would be happy with only 3 of the 4 choices

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

That's Crazy

$8500 used to buy something. What's it buy now?

not much.

Code of Ethics Sets REALTORS® Apart

I swear I'm not making this up:

Here’s a general overview of just a few of the key principles REALTORS® willingly agree to under the Code:

· REALTORS® avoid practices, which may harm the public.

· REALTORS® do not exaggerate, misrepresent or conceal facts related to property or transactions.

· REALTORS® protect and promote their clients’ interests and treat all parties fairly.

· REALTORS® represent themselves truthfully in advertising and other public forums.

 
Stop the NC Association of Realtors
Polluting our State Legislature with money.

But Timmy sez:

"Hey. There's nothing in there about exaggerating, misrepresenting or concealing facts when it comes to lobbying our buddies in the Senate!"

Heh. Nice find.

Timmy sez

Here's what Tim Kent said in a letter to the News & Observer:

After taxes and business/marketing expenses, Realtors had a net average income of $28,000.

Here's what NCAR put in its 2007 Media Kit:

NCAR Members Earn Higher Incomes
REALTORS® had a median household income of $102,330 in
2004 (last year data is available). That’s 132 percent greater than
the typical American median household income of $44,389.
REALTORS® median annual personal income in 2004 was
$49,300. Almost one-quarter of REALTORS® had incomes that
exceeded $100,000.

Would the REAL® REALTOR® income please stand up?

 
Stop the NC Association of Realtors
Polluting our State Legislature with money.

Ho-lee mackerel

Nice digging, Greg. What a lyin' sack of Realtor! Either that, or the average agent spends $70,000 on taxes, business and marketing!

Not.

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Average vs. Median

Any statisticians here?

There probably are a large number of Realtors not making much money, but that is only because they are merely hobbyists. At least around here in Moore County, I swear 1 of 4 people is a realtor. Many of them are inactive or just list a house or two every couple of years for friends. I'd be interested to see what the income numbers are just for full-time realtors. I'm betting the average is well north of the $49,300 median.

I'm not a statistician,

but I can explain the difference between median and mean, or average. The median falls in the middle of the data - half the figures are higher, and half are lower. The mean, or average, is obtained by adding up all the data and dividing by the number of items. To take an example with small numbers: 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 14 adds up to 38. Divided by 10 gives an average of 3.8, but the median is 2.5, because half are higher and half are lower than that. The mode is 2, that's the item that occurs most frequently.

So the difference in those figures could be attributable to the difference between median and mean, but I'm guessing there's something more there. I would be interested to know the source of the data set for each study. I would agree that full time realtors, on average, make well above the $49,300 figure, net of expenses.

net income

After taxes and business/marketing expenses, Realtors had a net average income of $28,000.

A true realtor is going to claim everything is part of their business as a realtor. Thus, the bacon and eggs bought for breakfast is for the business effecting the gross bottom line.

Net income to me is that above and beyond what they have to spend for their lives. In otherwords, the avg realtor (remember, there is a diffrence between a real estatat agent and a realtor, not sure what it is, but two catagory of people) makes in profit, or has as clear profit in their bank account of $28,000. If they are trying to pay off a car, that is part of their gross. If they are paying for rugrats to collage, thats gross. We are talking pure profits here. If my understanding of the use of NET is in this context.

funny code those realtors

funny code those realtors agree to. I know tons of realtors, some I like as friends, but none of whom I fully trust in a real estate transaction. their profession is at the beginning stages of dying. i hate taxes, but i'd easily trade a 6% realtor commission for up to 2% transaction fee to pay for local schools and transportation.

Stamey Stamey

Heck -

I'd pay the full 6% if I knew for sure it was going for local schools and transportation. I don't mind paying for services, and I think those are services that the local and state governments, respectively, are much better at than the private sector.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi