Monday, May 23, 2016

Montgomery County planning massive tax-cut for developers as they raise taxes on you

This Thursday, Montgomery County will raise your taxes to the highest level ever. And next week, they will discuss the biggest developer tax cut ever. 

Awk-ward.

On Thursday, the Montgomery County Council is expected to unanimously approve an FY-2017 budget that raises your taxes to a record, all-time high. It will include a property tax hike so massive, it required a unanimous vote by the Council last week to exceed the County's charter limit on property taxes. And it will hike the recordation tax you will pay when selling your home, or even just refinancing your mortgage. Notably, the budget shifts the cost of school construction from developers to taxpayers.

But the Council isn't done helping developers, who account for over 80% of councilmembers' campaign contributions, yet.

The Montgomery County Planning Department is now proposing a massive tax cut for developers.

That is not a misprint.

Just as the County has rejiggered its traffic congestion measurements to reduce taxes for developers, now the County political cartel is proposing to do the same for school capacity and construction costs.

Three key school funding equations would be changed under the planning staff's recommendations, and would result in developer tax cuts up to 59.4%!

Here's how the scam will work:
New math will make it
appear fewer students
are being generated
by new development
First, much like the "new math" planners now legally use to make failing intersections and overburdened roads appear to pass traffic tests, planners are proposing to change the equation for student generation rates. The "new math" will base the forecast only on housing built in the last ten years, which will - surprise! - slash the student generation rate significantly (anybody remember a little thing called "The Great Recession"?). Just a quick glance at the "before and after" colored bars in the graph above shows you just how drastic the change will be (green represents the number of students forecast under the proposed new math).
Massive developer tax cut
number one
The new, lower student generation rate will be combined with a biennial recalculation of school construction costs, to - surprise again! - massively slash school facility payments for developers. For example, the elementary school payment for a mid-rise apartment unit is currently $2,838. Under the new tax cut, that ES payment would drop to $1,495. How about a high-rise payment for the high school level in Bethesda, Silver Spring or Rockville? It will absolutely plunge from $804 to $394.

Sounds like a sweet deal, right? "But, wait - there's more!"
Massive developer tax cut
number two
Impact taxes developers pay will also be lowered under the new biennial formula. As the planning staff acknowledge in their report, under the new formula, "all School Impact Taxes will decrease." The mid-rise apartment building school impact tax per unit would drop from $12,765 to an astoundingly cheap $4,659.

In an additional proposed change, the current .9 multiplier in the school impact tax would be removed. This would preserve the type of massive tax cuts proposed for all but single-family homes. Which would also further discourage developers from building single-family homes, which cannot be built in the same density as townhomes and apartment buildings, and therefore generate fewer students on a lot of the same size than multi-family housing.

Think back to recent development fights in places like Westbard, downtown Bethesda, Rock Spring, White Oak and Lyttonsville, as well as the Adequate Public Facilities battle royale in the City of Rockville. At the outset of many of those discussions, the County Council and Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson told us they were going to "start a conversation" about how they could allow the massive development their developer supporters wanted, and somehow provide the infrastructure that would be required to support it.

Would you have imagined at that time that the plan was actually a ruse to open up the formulas and instead give those same developers a massive tax cut?

Well, if you read my blog back then, you might have known something was up.

It's unlikely anyone has any doubts about how arrogant and patronizing the County Council and Planning Board are at this point. You can be sure there's much "mansplaining" ahead from both, as they try to educate us to understand schemes and treachery - er, sorry, "Subdivision Staging Policy" - so complex it is simply beyond the small mind of you, the citizen.

Are you ready for term limits yet?

The Planning Board is expected to hold a public hearing on the proposals, and the rest of the SSP, on June 2, 2016.

So, to summarize, this Thursday, Montgomery County will raise your taxes to the highest level ever. And next week, they will discuss the biggest developer tax cut ever. You can't make this stuff up, folks! This is what happens when you have a political cartel where government policy is for sale to the highest bidder. And more than 80% of the money is coming from developers.

Res ipsa loquitur.

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Which would also further discourage developers from building single-family homes, which cannot be built in the same density as townhomes and apartment buildings, and therefore generate fewer students on a lot of the same size than multi-family housing."

If you read the proposal you would know the opposite is true. Multi-family housing doesn't generate nearly as many students as single family. Unfortunately your faux outrage is wrapped around a lie that you tried to hide in the middle of this rant.

Robert Dyer said...

5:17: Apartment buildings don't generate more students than single-family homes on a lot of equal size? Whatever you're smoking, Hans Riemer wants to legalize it.

Poppy said...

Complaining about taxes is not very progressive. We gladly pay a large dollar amount in taxes in order to support the many progressive initiatives the county spearheads.

Robert Dyer said...

Poppy, wouldn't you agree across the board tax increases on low and middle income brackets aren't progressive either? Likewise, massive tax cuts for developers are not progressive.

Anonymous said...

A SFH with 1 household or an apartment building with 100 households. The apartment will generate more revenue and economic benefit than the SFH. The 100 apartment households will have more kids than the 1 single family home household, yes, but at a much lower ratio per household. Meaning ratio of revenue and economic benefit Vs impact on schools and services is better with an apartment than a SFH.

Anonymous said...

Now I get it. Robert prefers single-family homes. I wonder why.

Robert Dyer said...

5:44: That sounds like George Leventhal's presentation on Channel 16 in 2010. He himself has now disavowed that, and has acknowledged what I've been saying all along - there is no net "revenue and economic benefit" from residential housing.

That's why MoCo has a structural budget deficit as far out as the forecasts go into the future, despite 800% growth in Clarksburg and massive development in our urban areas. Where is the revenue? If there is so much revenue, why did the Council just exceed the charter limit on property taxes? Just to rip us off? Do tell!

Robert Dyer said...

5:48: Nobody said anything about preferences, just the facts of the issues in this hard-hitting investigative piece.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully this spurs more development. We need more housing and so many office spots have languished unbuilt.

Anonymous said...

So adding people to the county hurts versus helps? Does that mean we need to start shedding people? Families with kids should be incentivized to move away? What else? What is a plan that works?

Anonymous said...

Let's be realistic. This is your interpretation of the facts and what their effect will be. As others have their own interpretation.

Anonymous said...

How much does Robert Dyer actually pay in taxes?

#RealeaseTheReturns

Anonymous said...

"This hard-hitting investigative piece"

LOL

Anonymous said...

"slash the student generation rate significantly (anybody remember a little thing called "The Great Recession"?)"

Couples stopped f*cking during the Recession? Can you document this?

Anonymous said...

"Awk-ward"

Are you five? You should be the only one feeling awkward.

Poppy said...

@5:42 Sorry Robert, we'll have to politely agree to disagree here. Everybody needs to do their part. It takes a village. Low income people may end up paying more in taxes but it leads to more robust programs carefully run by progressive leadership that they can benefit from.

Think about it, that low income family asked to pay an extra $1,000 in taxes? Well, that money is going to go into the hands of people who will use their progressive minds to squeeze every cent out of it with fantastic programs which clothe, feed, educate and even enlighten the lower income populace of the county. If those families kept that $1,000 to themselves the risk is far too high that they are going to just take it to Maryland Live and feed it into a slot machine.

Anonymous said...

"Nobody said anything about preferences, just the facts of the issues in this hard-hitting investigative piece."

Wow. Just wow. More like another blog post filled with inaccuracies and incredibly misguided opinions.

Anonymous said...

Does Dyer realize that taxing children will lead to an increase in abortions?

Anonymous said...

6:27 - I think that awkward award is split between 6:23, 6:09, 6:07, 6:02 & 5:48. Or maybe that's all one?

Thankfully the county will flourish, since our fictional family will be paying fictional dollars. Or is it fictional families the county uses for its stats?

Anonymous said...

I think we've been had.

I'm beginning to think that Poppy and Robert Dyer are both trolls. Both are caricatures of extremist wingnuts on both ends of the political spectrum. Poppy is pretending to be the elitist/self-righteous "progressive." Dyer is pretending to be the ignorant/obtuse/brainless right-wing firebrand. I seriously doubt either actually believe what they post. It's just shock/satire to get attention/clicks.

Also, notice how Poppy is literally the only commenter who can disagree with Dyer and not get assaulted with kindergarten insults. It also explains the radical difference between the "real content" on this site--goings ons and what not in the area--and the "bait"--long winded, imbecilic rants.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:38, 6:50 AM - Dyer, and everyone else here, are just actors in a bad dream that Hans Riemer had after eating a bad burrito one night.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:48 AM - "Now I get it. Robert prefers single-family homes. I wonder why."

"Bistro de Maman" apartments will be grandfathered, of course.

Anonymous said...

@6:50 have you ever considered the fact that when Poppy disagrees with Robert she is polite and respectful?

Anonymous said...

It isn't like these tax changes will affect Robert, just his mom!

Anonymous said...

Sure, things are all polite and cordial now, but wait till Poppy suggests to Dyer's Mom that she replace his apartment with a wine cellar.

Then, watch the fur fly!

Anonymous said...

Hey Robbie if the economy in MoCo is soo bad, and business is suffering in B-town, you may want to alert The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/22/travel/where-to-shop-bethesda-maryland.html?emc=eta1&_r=1

Anonymous said...

MoCo is great, but it could be greater!
That's Dyer's point, as a life long resident.

Anonymous said...

Some days I wonder how much better this county could be if you people put as much effort into keeping our council in check as you do in disparaging Dyer.
Are you happy paying more for less?

History tells us that in past collapsed civilizations, the citizens witnessed all of the signs of demise but failed to act.

Anonymous said...
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Elm said...

7:45 AM The problem is we haven't had media coverage and examination of the Council's activities. (By coverage, I don't mean spreading the official press releases from Neil Greenberger's office.)

Dyer is now MoCo's Fourth Estate, providing that honest coverage and that apparently makes some folks uncomfortable.

The Gazette (RIP) regrettably never did and the Post has scant coverage of the Council. An article here and there when a big issue blows up isn't enough.

Robert Dyer said...

6:30: The numbers and charts are all directly from the staff report. How is that "inaccurate"?

Robert Dyer said...

6:50: Wouldn't a "right-wing firebrand" be in favor of unrestrained, unregulated real estate development? Am I the same right-wing firebrand The Seventh State said was running to the left of your buddies on the County Council?

"Long-winded imbecilic rants." Good description of the County Council when they passed the Westbard sector plan, but certainly not of the tight, fact-based analysis I presented in this piece. My views on growth just happen to reflect the majority of citizens. You are the outlier.

Robert Dyer said...

6:58: How about apartments provided to reporters by developers and the MoCo cartel - will they be exempt?

Anonymous said...

There's serious questions whether the Council had accurate data when they passed the Westbard plan. Remember, Councilmember Reamer declared that Westbard Avenue was walkable to two Metro stations.
He was supplied bad data and made a bad decision based on it.

Robert Dyer said...

8:06: He didn't have the energy to fact-check. He's so low-energy, that when he gives a fireside chat, the fire goes out.

Robert Dyer said...

7:12: Shopping is not economic development. Having a lot of retail and restaurants is not the same thing as attracting major corporate headquarters and high-wage manufacturing. You won't find many boutiques on the Fortune 500.

Robert Dyer said...

6:07: How much do other local reporters pay in taxes?

#InvestInSpellCheck

Anonymous said...

We should be saving these tax breaks for the Fortune 500 corporations that are considering moving to Montgomery County.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:51 AM - Hi, "Elm". Please give my regards to "Woodmont".

Anonymous said...

@ 8:11 AM - "High-wage manufacturing"? Does Northern Virginia actually have this? And where would we put the factories? Westbard? Lyttonsville? The Carver site?

Anonymous said...

@7:12am

Don't bother.

I'm pretty sure Dyer is the only person in Montgomery County who thinks the economy is "moribund." It's not even like he puts out more reasoned arguments such as "the economy could be more diversified or more business-friendly." Maybe then he would retain some credibility. No, he makes extreme blanket statements that are 100% inaccurate and at odds with well-researched facts being reported by the BLS, the Federal Reserve, the Census Bureau, real estate executives, MWCOG, local officials, think tanks, reputable media, common sense, etc.

Even worse he literally insults every small and mid-sized business in the county by saying that only Fortune 500's matter.

Anyways, for the rest of us, here's more "moribund economy" news in Bethesda. (You literally see stories like this every day, but Dyer probably gets all of his news from anecdotes from his friends and Breitbart):


https://www.bisnow.com/washington-dc/news/office/cbre-brings-bethesda-place-from-50-to-97-occupied-in-18-months-60379

Anonymous said...

"Shopping is not economic development...high-wage manufacturing"

Where did you go to college?

Anonymous said...

Dyer's points are legitimate based on those charts. How does the planning board justify it? Schools are more overcrowded than before, so houses (of any type) are generating more children who are entering school. Developers should pay when they add such housing.

Anonymous said...

We shouldn't let gays have kids in our schools! This ain't no "Progressive Community". The only kids in our schools should be the offspring of true Aryan bloodlines.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:30 AM EST - And the war aint over yet either! tell em!

Anonymous said...

^Surprised these dimwits are able to "select all images with storefronts"

Anonymous said...

11:06: Couldn't agree more, well said.

Anonymous said...

developers are getting breaks and all the County Council and their staff can do is put anonymous comments about sex on this blog. Donald Trump will be the next president and the Montgomery County Council will be thrilled to have someone with their same mentality running the country.

The comments on this blog are a testament to the incredibly low level of education in Montgomery County. Considering moving here? This is the level of the population. You might want to reconsider.

Anonymous said...

This is how adults bully each other in Montgomery County. The bullying only gets worse for the children in our public school system.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering, what is Dyer's actual proposal to improve education in MoCo? I assume that it will involve zero tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Is 12:57 a troll or misguided?

12:58 PM Amazing that the leading lights of MoCo troll a local journo.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

@1:24 PM - I thought Hodor died

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It might be a slow news day in Bethesda if Bethesda bloggers are posting bad jokes here. Moribund and boring sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

Its disgusting to see bloggers fawning at the feet of Reamer & Leventhal and having to service them daily.
That's not journalism.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:21 PM - You seem to be living in some bizarre alternate universe. I checked Bethesda's news website of record, and see barely any mention of either name, for over a week.

Anonymous said...

I love how "progressives" want to speak for how MY budget should be allocated ! Why do THEY simply not voluntarily give more of their OWN money to the MC budget, if they think wasteful govt ( redundant) spending is so great ?!! No one will spend your money as wisely as YOU do. And if you do waste it, that is your prerogative, because it's your money.
Forcing everyone to fall unto lockstep with what THEY decide is "best" is called either fascism, socialism or totalitarianism, last I checked. The bigger the govt, the more money it drains from taxpayer's pockets, along with the FREEDOM to decide how to allocate one's own money. Leftists want all the freedom in the world -- until it contradicts their view of how the world should be !! Just like Animal Farm - we're all equal, but some of us are more equal than others. Hahaha. " From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. " Hogwash. There is not one socialist system that has EVER succeeded the way free market capitalism has. One word - Venezuela ( who has the world's largest oil reserves and the govt has run out of TOILET PAPER !!! ( look it up !)
Socialism is an immoral system because it is antithetical to FREEDOM:
http://www.alt-market.com/articles/2886-socialism-is-an-immoral-system
Progressives PLEASE LEAVE ME AND MY WALLET ALONE. And yes, I am a lifelong MC resident and will move out if smarter, more rational people don't get elected in 2 years when 1/2 the council is Term Limited OUT. It's sadly ironic that liberals move away from the poor fiscal policies put in place by the liberals they elect, and so they move to places like Frederick to pay lower taxes but then bring their corrosive liberal policies with them until they run the new area into the ground. Please liberals, go weave baskets, make granola, bring home your upper 6-figure lobbyist paycheck, but leave the rest of us - and our wallets - alone !!! You're ruining my hometown !

Anonymous said...

That's crass.

Anonymous said...

Typical Dyer. Won't do anything unless his competitors do the same. #DodgingDyer. Just like a typical politician. And he says he's about change and transparency.

Anonymous said...

Majority of citizens? Then how come only 300 people showed up at that Westbard meeting? Or 1500 sent in communications? Doesn't sound like a majority there.

Robert Dyer said...

4:45: What are you even responding to?

4:47: How many people showed up in favor? How many "sent in communications" in favor of the Westbard plan?

Answer to both: A mere sliver of the number who showed up and wrote in opposition to it. At many meetings, zero showed up to support the plan.

"Doesn't sound like a majority there."

Betsy said...

Neither does 300 or 1500 sound like a majority. So claims that a majority are in opposition are unverified it seems.

Robert Dyer said...

6:34: So who is the majority, then? The folks who can't turn anybody out, or the folks who can get 300 to march and 1500 to write?

Anonymous said...

Why would people show up to protest something they agree with?

It's like saying: "Since only one person showed up to the site plan meeting for Development A, and that person was in opposition to the plan, therefore 100% of county residents are in opposition to Development A."

Anonymous said...

Very good point.

Anonymous said...

Supporters of plans show up at protests to make sure their voices are heard too.
See the national news.

Anonymous said...

Sure. But it looks like they didn't need to for the Westbard meetings and protests. Council and planners represented the majority just fine.

Anonymous said...

10:36 AM The Council represented the majority of their donors just fine.
Berliner acted like a two dollar whore during this process. Not nice!