Astroturf Rising

Faced with a drought of public support for its high profile opposition to the transfer tax the NC Association of Realtors (NCAR) has replaced the withered remains of the "Stop The NC Home Tax" website. With newly installed Astroturf at the same address called "Vote No on the Home Tax", hoping to fool county voters into thinking it is a real grassroots movement, the website has scrubbed all references to NCAR. In its place is a roster of newly formed "Local Committees" to provide cover for the real involvement of the realtors' group.

Swain County Property Owners Against the Transfer Tax
Macon County Citizens Against the Transfer Tax
Graham County Citizens Against the Transfer Tax
Rutherford County Property Owners Against the Transfer Tax
Henderson County Coalition to Protect Home Equity
Union County Coalition Against the Home Tax
Davie County Coalition Against a New Home Tax
Chatham County Coalition for Homeownership
Moore County Coalition For Good Government
Hoke County Citizens to Protect Homeownership
Harnett County Citizens Against the Home Tax
Johnston County Property Owners Against Transfer Taxes
Pender County Coalition to Protect the American Dream
Committee of Concerned Brunswick County Property Owners
Washington County Landowners Against the Transfer Tax
Gates County Citizens Against Higher Taxes

Voters in Chatham County have been scratching their heads over robo-calls from a hereto unknown group called Chatham County Coalition for Homeownership. Meanwhile Brunswick County voters are slowly finding out that the Committee of Concerned Brunswick County Property Owners is an organization of realtors, homebuilders and, mortgage brokers headed by Steve Candler, governmental affairs director for the Brunswick County Association of Realtors.

This is an image of the old site. I miss Angie already. Don't get burned skidding on the Astroturf.

Crossposted from Progressive Pulse and, Stop The NC Home Ticks by "A" special request

Comments

Those dang ticks.

It gives me the creeps to the see the real estate lobby in action this way. Is Fred Smith tied in with this?

PS Great green carpet. Makes me want to wipe my feet. Thanks for bringing this over from Progressive Pulse.


"If boiling people alive best served the interests of the American people, then it would neither be moral or immoral." Max Borders, Civitas Institute

Bait and Switch by the Real Estate industry at the worst time?

Stop The NC Home Tax" website. With newly installed Astroturf at the same address called "Vote No on the Home Tax", hoping to fool county voters into thinking it is a real grassroots movement, the website has scrubbed all references to NCAR.* GF

Talking about bait and switch! Would you buy a used car from these people?

So it turns out that in September

at the Moore County Dem. Party meeting, which I had to miss, the Exec Committee decided to endorse both the school bond issue AND the land transfer tax.

Of course - until our officer's meeting tonight (three weeks? two weeks?) before the election - it was decided that someone ought to write something about why we endorse these things. And maybe, you know, put it in the paper. Or something.

So- I'm going to be visiting all of Greg's wonderful links to feed good information to our chair, whose name will have to go on the finished piece. Greg, THANK YOU for the work you're doing on this. You da man.


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

Got a call yesterday

From the local anti-transfer tax group the Moore County Coalition for Good Government. I normally don't answer polls, but I decided to this time as it was not about candidates. I said I supported it and they said "thank you" and hung up. I'm guessing if I said I wasn't sure or that I was against it, they would have given me more info or asked me to put up a sign in my yard.

Speaking of Astroturf, I noticed on the new website mentioned above that all the homes had beautiful, lush green lawns. Don't the Realtors(R) know we're in the middle of a drought? They apparently not only support irresponsible fiscal policy, they support irresponsible use of our natural resources...

Lush green

Sounds like 6% real estate commissions.


"If boiling people alive best served the interests of the American people, then it would neither be moral or immoral." Max Borders, Civitas Institute

Local situation

I was at an event recently and overheard an interesting conversation. Someone was talking to a couple of Realtors(R) and the subject of the transfer tax came up. The Realtors said they were against it. The other person asked why. They basically said they didn't know why or what it was really about but that they were told they were supposed to be against it. Oh well. It wouldn't be so bad except for the fact that every third or fourth person in Moore County has a real estate license.

Realtor sheep

At the risk of offending our friends here who happen to be realtors, I'm afraid that this is often the case, which is why it is crucial that the word be put out and the work be done.


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

Divided

From a Winston-Salem Journal article:

Connie Kowalske, a real-estate agent for Howard Realty and the treasurer of the Davie County Coalition Against a New Home Tax. “We’re the only organized group that can speak for homeowners. As Realtors, we have pledged to protect private property rights.”

But not all real-estate agents are against the tax. Neal Foster, the owner of the real-estate firm Neal Foster & Associates Inc., said that Davie doesn’t have enough commercial growth to support the needs of the community. He is also a member of the group Davie Alliance, which formed this year to work on local issues.

“The land-transfer tax and the sales-tax are an alternative to take the burden off the landowners and property owners,” he said.

They're not using real water to make those lawns lush.

They're using the tears of children no longer covered by S-CHIP.

Thank you folks, I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitresses.


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

Realtor rhetoric

Chatham County has been a political laboratory for developers and realtors in recent years, as documented by Jennifer Strom in The Independent:

It started in 2002
How Bunkey Won: A Chatham County group tapped into Triangle-wide developers' coalition

Fast forward to 2006:
High noon in Chatham: County on edge as the primary election nears

These are legitimate groups:
The Chatham Coalition
Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities
Pittsboro Together

This is the official Chatham County information site:
Chatham Land Transfer Tax Referendum

The name "Chatham County Coalition for Homeownership" is deliberately chosen to sow confusion with the legit "Chatham Coalition". All counties should expect robo-calls and a last minute surge of disinformation, much of it sourced from Civitas and the John Locke Foundation.

Rob Schofield had a good review of the disinformation being circulated statewide about this complex issue:
One Size Does Not Fit All

Yesterday Chris Fitzsimon had an article summarizing the realtors continued involvement:
The Realtors’ misleading rhetoric continues

Update: fixed Chatham links

Well, we got y'all beat by a mile!!

Johnston County has a lovely astroturfilicious association called,

"The Johnston County Property Owners Against Transfer Taxes."

I got a shiney 8.5"x11" mailer from them this week with all sorts of SUPER-SPIN on it. For instance:

This new tax will be permanent.

Horrors!! ... because property taxes are not permanent? Right. This is just a snarkfest waiting to happen.

Farmers interested in selling land to their children will have to pay this tax.

To my knowledge, land sales within the family are exempt. This needs confirmation, I haven't read the whole bill, but I heard someone who I think knows enough about this to be trusted say that was exempt, along with a few other transfers.

But the Dizzy-Spin Stupid Argument of the Day prize goes to:

This new tax will be paid by the seller -- existing county residents who have paid property taxes, sales taxes and other taxes and fees for years.

More snarkfest material. Obviously it would be much better for those long term residents on fixed incomes to have been required to pay increased property taxes and increased sales taxes all those years they existed in the county rather than paying a transfer tax when they sell and have readily available cash to pay with.

You know, it's really irritating to not have enough personal wealth to independently seed my own group, pay a webmistress to put up a site, and send out a thousand or 4999 mailers. I'd call it "Johnston Parents, Teachers, Grown-ups and Responsible People for the Transfer Tax."

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Spin

It's only as permanent as the next Commission Meeting. Even if referendum gives 100% approval, commissioners must vote to implement. They can just as easily repeal.

Does not apply to any of the following transfers of an interest in real property:

(1) By operation of law.
(2) By lease for a term of years.
(3) By or pursuant to the provisions of a will.
(4) By intestacy.
(5) By gift.
(6) If no consideration in property or money is due or paid by the transferee to the transferor.
(7) By merger, conversion, or consolidation.
(8) By an instrument securing indebtedness.

The example given is a red herring. Few, if any, farmers would literally "sell" land to family. At market prices they would be undoubtedly be liable for much higher capital gains tax against which a transfer tax would be infinitesimal.

The liability on paper will be the seller's but in reality will be a shared transaction cost.

Ah! thanks, greg.

That's what I needed.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."