Monday, June 22, 2009

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 - How Does the $8,000 Tax Credit Work

  • The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000, whichever is less.
  • The tax credit is for first-time home buyers. Those who have not owned a property in 3 years are considered 1st time buyers.
  • The tax credit does not have to be repaid, provided the homeowner occupies the property as his/her primary residence for the first 3 years following the date of purchase.
  • The credit is available for homes purchased on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.
  • Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify for the full tax credit*.
* Partial tax credits for those with incomes over the above limits may be available. Consult your tax advisor for details.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Vote for Zimmer - Keep Hoboken Real Estate Taxes Down, Values Up

Hello all,

We are in the final minutes of overtime in the mayoral and council seat superbowl. We have an opportunity to make a huge sea change in Hoboken's amazing history. Dawn Zimmer and her slate - Ravi Bhalla, Dave Mello and Carol Marsh represent a true break from the corrupt, self serving, incompetent leadership of the past. It's not about BnR v Newcomer....It's small, corrupt, self-serving, politically connected v everyone else.

I urge you to make arrangements to be in town on June 9th and to come out and vote. Polls open at 6:00 AM.

I have been highly engaged in the council meetings, debates, white papers and articles that have been written about Hoboken's tax situation and management. I am voting for Dawn and her slate not for any other reason but I believe she will take the actions needed to right the town. She will stop the fleecing by not having more employees than needed, saving for infrastructure depletion and deferred compensation. True transparency, accountability, responsible spending on just what we need, controls and measures, job descriptions, management that makes Hoboken Directors and employees responsible for managing to our approved budget and to ensure Hoboken residents get value for their tax dollars and we stop selling tomorrow for today.

Ravi Bhalla is a competent, seasoned attorney that does not represent developers, not connected to the machine and will help Dawn pass the resolutions and ordinances necessary to ensure quality decisions.

Dave Mello a teacher and union member but in NY - so no conflict of interest. He also is a law school grad. He has experience in corporate America before making his career change which gives him a really unique perspective. He understands how to operate in large organizations, he had responsibility for generating business and as such has financial and analytical skills. He also understands the union worker, those that go into a craft because they wanted to make a difference. He understand the nature of a public service job and understands both sides - accountability and fair deal for the tax payer and employee.

Carol Marsh a veteran to politics and a certified city clerk can bring immeasurable knowledge of the legislative process, civil service law and years of community service. Immeasurable considering the procedural screw ups that have prevented the currant administration from holding many accountable.

Peter says one thing and does another. He lies about his record and Dawn's . . . .

Peter Cammarano's is preaching about a platform that he has never practiced. His platform is the same as Dawn's in many ways - reduce taxes, go green, smart development, reduce mismanagement by holding people accountable but that is not the way he has voted nor is it reflective of who is supporting him nor it reflective of the specific tactics he would take to meet those platform promises.

Go to for a comparison between his record and his platform..... He is lies blatantly. Don't be fooled.

~25% of his campaign contributions are coming from developers, wifes of developers, law firms that represent developers. Another 18% comes from unions and PACs that are pro-union (why do you think they endorsed him - cause he is going to keep their gravy train coming). see for a breakdown of his campaign contributions. Peter Cammarano has virtually never voted against a development proposal even when the proposed project didn't ensure that the developer would put in necessary infrastructure that the development would need only shoving that onto the tax payer. The development in the south west was done on what was a wetlands. How is anyone shocked that land that is lower than the Hudson River floods when in a hard down pour. A gravity driven system that expels extra water into the Hudson river won't drain when the water level is lower than high tide. The wetwater pumps alone will cost $40MM not to mention an ecological solution for retaining sewage from being pumped into the Hudson River. Those developers should have had to pay for that. The vast majority of the land under the SW Park and the Western Edge Development projects are owned by LLCs that lead back to developers such as Taragon Ursa - Pupie Raia was a board member. Applied has given him contributions including access to the W for his fundraisers (yes, the underlying owner of the W is the Applied Company - a development that got a PILOT for what? Do you know how many wanted to put a hotel in Hoboken? We could have had a hotel put in here without given out the tax subsidy. Eugene Finn wanted to make the buildings over Amanda's a bed and breakfast years ago. He made several attempts to get the variances and he wasn't going to change the height or structure of the buildings and he still was told no - guess he didn't make the right campaign contributions.)

Peter goes on and on about how the state take over caused the tax increase ---- no Peter, no. It was excessive spending, the obscene increase in the employee base that drove the budget number up. The only reason why Roberts made his budget numbers the year before is because he wasn't paying bills for things like employee health benefits and he took a loan out on the municipal garage - kind of like taking out money on your credit card and only paying the minimum. The state monitor put out a budget that was based on our obligations that Roberts created not for the hell of it. The state take over has reduced the employee base by over 100 positions to approximately 440 - still about 70 more than the Russo Administration and she has put together a great strategy for the union contracts under negotiation. Can you imagine what shape we would be in if the state didn't come in and stop Roberts?

See my post for all the benefits of the takeover -

He puts forth only two ideas to cut expenses - staying clear of talking about personnel which is 80% of our budget (remember he has huge campaign contributions from unions). He talks about the reserve for uncollected taxes and how that is $10MM that he can 'give back' to taxpayers. No, Peter, no.... that cannot go to 0 not in the worst recession since the great depression. It maybe able to be reduced to half, let's say $5MM and if we have not used it this year. It's a one time item in a ~$100MM budget.

The other had to do with bringing the legal department in house in lieu of using contractors. Law is very specialized and I think we would loose money overall if we hired an internal team to handle everything from litigation, to labor negotiations to land use. It's to analyzed whether or not that would save or just add back bodies to the payroll.

Peter is also very junior. Given his age of 31/32 and the fact that it takes at least 3 years to go through law school and pass the bar. He has a total of ~5 years work experience. He is an associate which means he does not manage a staff nor does he have direct PnL responsibility. Would you put your $100K company in the hands of someone who has so little real world experience? The Mayor's role is not an entry level job.

His slate:

Morales is a newly minted attorney that has a total of 3 years work experience compiled in between school. The council positions are not entry level roles. He should go off and do volunteer work at the school or the rec program or helping implement something like the Paris grant. Why does he think he can start at the city council level? What? We are going to let him make a dozen financial decisions with our tax money and then see what he brings to the table. The son of an SVP at the Applied Company, he is obviously a candidate who is there to vote in the favor of developers not the taxpayers. Applied is below it's affordable housing obligation...Will he vote to make them meet it?

Addeo - A union representative who lives in Church Towers as a 'surcharge' payer indicating he makes more than $120K. Do you think he will work with federal and state agencies to ensure that our affordable housing programs are properly administered? The original Church Towers HUD program had a provision where everyone in the building would be re-qualified periodically just the way it's done in low income housing. It obviously was not. 40% of the building makes more than the upper limit of what would be allowable to enter the building. If this feature were utilized an additional ~120 units would be available for entry level police, fire, crossing guards, teachers, kids just starting out in NY, etc. This is especially important since the Applied company has completed its affordable housing program uptown and has not renewed with a new program. Neither has Church Towers for that matter. How will a pro-union guy represent the taxpayer? Will he help the mayor and council negotiate with the unions to bring their total compensation more in line with market equilibrium and comparative towns??? Doubtful. It's another sign that if Camm gets in he will put back all of those extra jobs and lucrative comp and benefits packages that Judy has/is restructuring back on the books. He was also previously appointed by Russo and has connections to Dominick Lisa who refused to recuse himself on the Piccardo D variance even after he was advised to the contrary by the ZBA attorney.

Alicea - He was fired as a the commissioner of the Hoboken Housing Authority because he didn't pay bills on time. Why do we want him making decisions regarding our tax dollars.

We need Dawn and her slate to right this ship. She needs to have enough support on the Council to get ordinances, resolution and enforcement through.

I urge you to vote. The reason why this municipal featherbedding and wasteful spending exists is because municipal workers and their families vote and the general taxpayer doesn't. The polls open at 6:00.