Updated: It appears as though the Rhino Times' John Hammer is Financially Illiterate

No Evidence Of Rich Stupid People Club

"The News & Record is promoting a wild theory about a conspiracy
to raise tax values in upper income neighborhoods in Greensboro.

It is a truly whacky idea, and it comes from a truly whacky guy
– George Hartzman
– who has been preaching versions of his conspiracy theory for months.

Hartzman ran for the District 3 City Council seat in 2009
and is a regular speaker from the floor at City Council meetings.

Hartzman has tried hard to recruit The Rhinoceros Times
into his tax-value-conspiracy-theory fold,
but it makes no sense to us.

First you have to assume that the Guilford County commissioners
are heavily involved in the real estate revaluation process,
and they simply are not.

Where did I say that?

Why would the commissioners have to be involved
in a skewed tax revaluation?

If anything, a passive endorsement of the outcome
presented to both City Council and the county commissioners 
that makes them look good
makes more sense than active involvement.

But if you accept that then you have to also assume
that there is a rich property owners club
where the rich property owners get together
and all agree on what property values should be...

What sense does this sentence make?

Why would higher value property owners
purposfully want to increase thier own taxes?

...and further,
that every member of the club is a complete and utter idiot
who understands nothing about real estate and property values.

Further you have to believe that this rich property owners club
and the Guilford County commissioners conspired
and got the county employees in the Tax Department
to commit any number of serious crimes regarding property values.

We looked into it and it all seemed a little farfetched to us.

I know a couple of employees in the Tax Department
and know that they are basically honest,
but also that they have no intention of going to prison
to help some demented rich property owner
who for some inexplicable reason wants to pay more property taxes.

The theory that Hartzman and the News & Record are pushing
is that the rich property owners club wanted to have their property tax values increased...

Why would higher value property owners
purposfully want to increase thier own taxes?

...and right here in the beginning the theory breaks down
because the main thing that is affected by your tax property value
is the amount of property tax you pay.


"...the main thing that is affected by your tax property value
is the amount of property tax you pay."?

...The tax value is supposed to reflect the market price
but it is an estimate based on comparable real estate in the area.

And since the entire county is done at once,
the Tax Department does not have the time to spend on each piece of property
that an appraiser has.

...The county can't begin to spend several thousand dollars
on each of the roughly 200,000 pieces of property in Guilford County.

So they used a software package that did it for them?

Funny what can be done with computer software.

Rich property owners know that if the tax value of their home or office is low 
what that means is they pay less property tax, and,
when the property goes up for sale,
they get to explain that the tax value is low,
so the new property owner will also get to pay less property tax
– at least until the next revaluation.

But this is Hartzman's theory, or it is what it was.

What's my theory?

"...this is Hartzman's theory, 
or it is what it was."?

Hartzman has lots of theories about things
and sees more conspiracies than most people.

I must be insane.

What is astounding is that he convinced the News & Record
that this theory was worth a couple of front page stories.

I brainwashed the entire News & Record staff?

District 5 Guilford County commissioner candidate Jeff Phillips said
he learned a lesson about speaking to the News & Record.

He said that in his opinion the theory of a conspiracy
to artificially raise property taxes was that it was "highly unlikely."

He did say that he does have questions
about the way Guilford County reevaluated the property for 2012,
but that the idea that there was some kind of conspiracy was farfetched.

It's Hartzman's theory that a grand conspiracy in Guilford County
has raised property values in wealthy neighborhoods
because wealthy property owners didn't want their property values to go down...


I have found that property values in wealthy neighborhoods went up
and the low end got crushed
and the results do not match what occured.

Where did I say anywhere 
"wealthy property owners didn't want their property values to go down..."?

...and this also allowed the Guilford County commissioners
to slightly lower the property tax rate,
but the county will still collect more property tax revenue.


Guilford County commissioners lowered the property tax, 
gave out  vacation etc...after the budget was adopted
and eliminated what the county cited as a need for a 9.5 cent tax increase.

What seems to be overlooked is that the figure they are all concerned about
is the total value of the property in Guilford County in 2012
versus the total value of the property based on 2004 values.

Actually, the figure to be concerned with
is last year's versus this year's
and the effect on Greensboro and Guilford County budgets
and the differences between Guilford County's results
and the results of 13 other counties.

Although the value of much of the property in Guilford County
has dropped from what it was in 2008,
it has to go all the way back to 2004 to drop in tax value...

Which, according to UNCG's Don Jud, 
went back to 1990's era values.

John "financially illiterate" Hammer?
September 20, 2012

In March 2012, Guilford County Manager Brenda Jones Fox

inserted a temporary bonus in a consent agenda
for county employees retiring,
only after more than 30 years of service.

When Mrs. Fox announced her retirement in April 2012,
she stood to recieve another $44,500.

Mrs. Fox was not fired.

In August 2012, Guilford County's Commisioners voted
to give Guilford County employees a $250 bonus
and 40 hours of extra paid-time-off.
In May, 2012, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina 
moved to "independently" audit thier 2011 Real Estate Revaluation
after numerous complaints of innacurate real estate values.

Guilford County's unemployment rate went from about 5.5% in 2004
to about 10% in 2012.

I believe the statistical chances of the high end of revaluations going up
while the low end,
probably about half of which is owned by relatively local investors
goes down as significantly
is relatively slim to none.

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