This site is about the overreaching political power of the NC Association of Realtors flush with money from cashing in your equity 6% at a time, leaving you to pay for growth with property taxes, year after year, with or without cash flow. In the last few years NCAR has pumped millions of dollars into NC political campaigns at the state and local level. They have spent millions more to defeat Local Options for Local Governments with misleading ads.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Money Talks in Orange and Other Counties

The price of winning a transfer tax referendum just went up. NC Realtors spent about $2 per registered voter in Orange County to achieve a 66% No to 34% Yes vote, double the amounts spent in the fall. This translates to a cost of about $7.50 per No vote, up from $6 in the fall.

According to the Independent: Money talks in Orange County

Real estate and homebuilders groups raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars to defeat the tax, according to an April 28 campaign finance report filed with the county board of elections. Citizens for a Better Orange County, the referendum committee organized to oppose the tax, spent $205,115 of the $234,239 it raised on direct mailings, polls and ads, some of which were produced by national political consulting groups. The N.C. Association of Realtors effectively ran the campaign from its Greensboro office
Orange Citizens for Schools and Parks, a referendum committee organized in favor of the land transfer tax... raised $1,764 and spent $1,329 as of April 19.
The measure was also defeated in three other counties on Tuesday: Ashe (55 percent against), Gates (71 percent against) and Tyrell (55 percent against).
While Orange County Commissioners had allocated $100,000 for an education campaign there is no evidence that much of it was actually spent. According to Orange County residents, information flyers, in limited numbers, were not ready for mailing until after early voting had begun and, may not have been delivered before election day, if at all.

Success for a transfer tax referendum may come in a war of attrition. Counties can keep placing the issue on the ballot but the deep pockets of realtors and homebuilders are not deep enough not sustain this rate of spending on a single issue on a statewide basis indefinitely. They've got bigger problems that will not be helped by declining infrastructure and quality of life diminution in NC housing markets caused by reduced public investment in publicly shared assets. The realtors' and homebuilders' strategy has been to achieve and early smack-down in a handful of counties to make other NC counties think twice about holding referendums. Repeated scheduling of referendums could eventually drain the war-chests of realtors and homebuilders with minimal outlay by counties.

As always, for up to date news on transfer tax check the "Transfer Tax News" feed in the right hand column, updated as it happens.

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