Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Favorite Whine In Dunwoody

Pouilly Fuisse? I could drink it all day!

No, no, NO! Not wine, WHINE!

After all, this is Dunwoody, and you should know by now you cannot drink wine without overbearing supervision from the church or the government. Or both. And isn't it interesting that both expect money? But we digress...

No, the favorite whine in Dunwoody is...drum roll please...TAXES! Specifically, property taxes, because you see, property taxes are about the only taxes the average voter is aware they pay to the City. And it certainly is the most direct. But not to worry, the political process and the politicians that drive it are quite adept at addressing the tax whiners.

How do they do this? Let's start with a look at some facts. Cold, hard, uncomfortable facts:
  • Median Dunwoody 2007 Household Income: $111,884
  • Median Georgia 2007 Household Income: $49,136
  • 2006 Assessed Residential Property Value in Dunwoody: $1.5 Billion
  • 2006 Assessed Non-Residential Property in Dunwoody: $1.0 Billion
"So what", you ask? Well dear reader, look at what these facts reveal:
  • on average we make over twice what the average Georgian makes
  • forty percent of our taxable property is non-residential
  • only owner-occupied residences are eligible for Homestead Exemption
  • home owners still get HOST
Bottom line is the wealthiest amongst us, home owners, get the most tax breaks and are in fact leaching off of those less well off, those denied a voice in Dunwoody and others through out Georgia.

Let's see how this all works.

The forty percent of non-residential taxable property will ultimately pay more per unit value in property tax than the sixty percent residential due to homeowner exemptions, yet business has no meaningful vote on city governance. Rental properties get no homeowner exemption so the added tax burden is passed on to the renter. While these renters do have a vote, again, based on per unit assessed value, they carry a higher burden than the homeowner, who is often far wealthier. Then there are franchise fees, totaling about $2.8 MILLION of the projected Dunwoody revenue stream, and except for a small portion of GaPower's fees, these come from the pockets of all rate payers across Georgia. You might observe that a family in Hall county, living on one third of our average income, is paying fees to support the rich folks in Dunwoody.

And what is the reaction from the citizenry--from city hall? Outrage! That's right, outrage.

Outrage at the possibility that the citizens of Dunwoody, the voters in this fair city might actually be called upon to pick up their own tab. After we've soaked the business community for property and revenue taxes, after we've bled just a little bit, a pin-prick mind you, from everyone in Georgia, we have the unmitigated gall to rail against "higher taxes." Even though these higher taxes pay for services that, well to be frank, only we get.

Here's what's missing in The Other Dunwoody. We're missing the Magic Pews. We simply don't know where to go---what seat in which church of what religion to hear that voice of moral authority tell us that actions so heinous when done unto us are now righteous when we do them unto others.

It appears to be the Church of the Self-Righteous, practicing the Religion of Politics and the only voice you will hear is the voice of Greed.