No easy choices for Paterson (The shape of things to come?)

From the Record (Hat tip Gator!):

Paterson officials will argue to limit tax increase

City officials will travel to Trenton on Monday to plead their case for a lighter municipal tax increase.

The state Department of Community Affairs, which must approve Paterson’s budget by Feb. 28, has recommended the city raise municipal taxes by more than 40 percent in order to close a $54 million deficit.

The 40 percent increase would mean taxes on a home assessed at $350,000, the city average, would go up $1,400.

The City Council wants to limit the increase to $544, meaning next quarter’s tax bill on an average home would increase by $272.

Meanwhile, a temporary compromise was struck before this quarter’s tax bills were sent out, with a $467 increase for the average home.

A smaller tax hike would be possible, in part, through spending cuts across all departments. and by slashing salaries by 15 percent for top earners.

Employees making between $10,000 and $25,999 a year would see only a 1 percent pay cut. Council members, who are paid $41,000 annually, would take a 15 percent cut.

The salary cuts should save about $7 million and avoid more than 100 layoffs, said Councilman-at-Large Kenneth Morris, who, as finance chairman, drafted the amendment to the budget. Morris said the salary cuts would be paid back upon retirement.

Mayor Jeffery Jones has already submitted a plan to the state that calls for about 150 police layoffs.

His administration has so far brought the deficit down to $12 million, but mostly through a 29 percent tax hike.

This entry was posted in Economics, New Jersey Real Estate, Politics, Property Taxes. Bookmark the permalink.

107 Responses to No easy choices for Paterson (The shape of things to come?)

  1. whipped says:

    any predictions on prices in Bergen, specifically Englewood area , short term and long term?

  2. grim says:

    From HousingWire:

    Zandi supports foreclosure claims fund financed by mortgage business

    Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi said he supports a fund financed by the mortgage industry to compensate victims of improper foreclosures and modifications.

    Zandi testified Thursday before the Senate Budget Committee on the state of the economy and possible proposals for fixing housing policy in the U.S. He focused on the rising levels of repossessed homes and recent issues with the foreclosure process. In October, lenders froze foreclosures when employees were found to be signing thousands of affidavits without a proper review of the documentation as required by law in 23 states.

    The 50 state attorneys general and several federal regulators launched investigations that are still pending. While speaking at the Mortgage Bankers Association summit on the future of mortgage servicing, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair proposed the idea of a foreclosure claim fund for victims of the robo-signing scandal.

    Zandi now agrees, suggesting changing the entire loss-mitigation process to include a third-party review before foreclosure, and to provide homeowners with a single point of access when pursuing a loan modification.

    He added that the fund would act as a deterrent to future malpractices.

    “This will provide a stronger incentive to the industry to make sure the process is working properly and fairly,” Zandi said.

  3. leftwing says:

    So how much of my money is propping up this dysfunctional hell hole?

    Any jurisdiction receiving Abbott funds should be subject to a PVSC audit and action.

  4. grim says:

    From the Detroit News:

    Taxpayers own 50K properties in Detroit

    Decades of abandonment, demolition and foreclosures have made taxpayers the largest landowners in Detroit.

    As the city’s population has declined by half since 1950 to about 900,000, more than 39,000 parcels have fallen into the city’s control — far more than any single landowner and more than eight times the tally of the largest 10 landowners combined.

    Another 10,300 parcels are owned by the state or federal government, meaning that roughly 12 percent of all parcels in the city are publicly owned. Excluding roads, bridges, parks and rights of way, publicly owned land in Detroit covers an area the size of Hamtramck and Ferndale put together.

    Detroit is believed to have more taxpayer-owned land than any other city in the United States, and the parcels produce no taxes, cost money to maintain and are often blighted themselves. But Mayor Dave Bing says the land is an opportunity for his Detroit Works Project to reshape the city.

  5. grim says:

    From the International Business Times:

    S&P: 4 More Years to Clear Shadow Inventory

    The shadow inventory of distressed homes in the United States will take four years to clear, according to Standard & Poor’s Rating Services’ fourth quarter report for 2010. That time span marks an 11 percent increase over the previous quarter, and a 40 percent increase from fourth quarter 2009.

    “Our recent estimates of months to clear have increased primarily because of the deceleration of the distressed property liquidation rate rather than a rise in overall distressed property levels,” according to the S&P report. “It seems that 90-plus-day delinquent loans and foreclosed properties are taking longer to become REO, which is lengthening the overall timelines for resolving troubled assets.”

    Shadow inventory is defined as distressed properties in which borrowers are 90 days or more delinquent on mortgage payments and where properties have recently fallen into foreclosure or are real estate owned.

    In New York, the S&P predicts it may take up to 10 years to fully clear the city’s shadow inventory–twice as long as any of the other top 20 metro areas S&P studied. Los Angeles has the largest shadow inventory overhang balance but it is expected to clear its inventory in 50 months or in about 4 years.

    The following is a list of cities where shadow inventories are expected to take the longest to clear, according to S&P’s most recent fourth quarter 2010 data.

    * New York: 130 months
    * Boston: 71 months
    * Charlotte, N.C.: 65 months
    * Miami: 60 months
    * Chicago: 59 months
    * Seattle: 59 months
    * Cleveland: 57 months
    * Tampa, Fla.: 57 months
    * Dallas: 56 months

  6. Again, the stench of death lies heavy in the air.

    Doom is upon us.

  7. grim says:

    10 year shadow supply for NY metro?

    Sad to think that the only way some of the low tier areas in NJ will ever see peak pricing again would be through massive inflation.

  8. grim says:

    From the NYT:

    New Jersey’s Ethnic Makeup Shifts, and Population Drifts Southward

    In the last decade, the number of white people in New Jersey declined as the number of Asians and Hispanics soared, and the population shifted southward — some of the many shifts with broad cultural and political implications that were revealed in 2010 census figures released on Thursday.

  9. 30 year realtor says:

    Been doing tons of BPOs in Paterson to stay busy until the REO assignments start rolling in again. The Paterson market is 75+ percent REO and short sales. Prices continue to compress and investors buying for cash flow are the vast majority of the market.

  10. 30 year realtor says:

    Until the states attorneys general resolve the foreclosure filing issues, the shadow inventory can only increase.

  11. grim says:

    Until the states attorneys general resolve the foreclosure filing issues

    I’m not sure a quick resolution is their intent. (edited)

  12. Mikeinwaiting says:

    “Morris said the salary cuts would be paid back upon retirement.” Like Paterson is going to be in much better shape down the road. Kick the can, what do they think they will do then, punt.

  13. wheaties says:

    Wait, did I read that right? They want to cut payments now but… give them all back in retirement? Isn’t that the same type of kicking the can down the road that they’ve always done? Seriously, turn pensions into 401ks so that we have proper accounting of what’s real and what’s imagined. No more of this stupid accounting hand waving.

  14. grim says:

    Extend and pretend

  15. Confused In NJ says:

    6.Debt Supernova says:
    February 4, 2011 at 6:43 am
    Again, the stench of death lies heavy in the air.

    Doom is upon us.

    The interesting thing is Ben will hit all time highs on the Dow with his printing press mere hours before Armeggedon.

  16. Anon E. Moose says:

    Just read a link to the “Camden (NJ) Aviation Adventure Club”. I’m envisioning WWII re-enactments, complete with bombing runs. That’d be an aviation adventure in Camden.

  17. Painhrtz says:

    I’d love to use a Norton bomb sight on Camden, can we use incinderies?

  18. xroads says:

    as we see cops, teachers and other jobs being cut that are supported by taxpayer money how long will it be before they are in foreclosure or even added to shadow inventory? and how many jobs would a cop or teacher job support in the economy ( ripple effect )

  19. NJGator says:

    Employee purge in IS&T here. Day 2. Everything is just fine, folks.

  20. NJGator says:

    Grim re Paterson – The STATE wants a 40% municipal tax hike? Whatever happened to Cap 2.0?

  21. NJGator says:

    Petty thievery continues to proliferate in Montklair. On another night last week, our neighborhood take out Chinese place was also hit. But on the bright side, from the article below, it sounds to me like not only does our neighboorhood gem Ruthie’s offer killer pizza, BBQ and live blues, but they’re also 2nd amendment friendly too!

    Same robber holds up two restaurants minutes apart

    A man with an accent who concealed an apparent handgun inside an orange scarf held up two Montclair restaurants, one right after another, this past Tuesday, Feb. 1, according to the Montclair police.

    In the first case, at about 7:30 p.m., the robber approached the counter of a Subway sandwich shop on Bloomfield Avenue near The Wellmont Theatre and said, “Give me money.”

    The cashier replied that she did not have any money of her own, just the store’s money. The suspect then pulled out an orange cloth or scarf that had the barrel of a handgun sticking out of it, and the employee handed over about $500 from the register.

    The bandit stuffed the money into a black backpack with a drawstring top and ran out of the store, going east along Bloomfield Avenue.

    Moments later it seems the same robber struck again, this time at Ruthie’s Bar-B-Q & Pizza on Chestnut Street, but he didn’t get any money, police said.

    The suspect entered the store around 7:40 p.m. and approached the front counter, where he displayed “an orange, Middle-Eastern type scarf wrapped around a small object,” a witness told police.

    The suspect pointed the scarf at employees.

    “Give me the ****ing money. Give me all the ****ing money,” he commanded. “This isn’t a joke.”

    One of the employees paused briefly and began to reach below the counter when the suspect suddenly fled. One of the workers told the others to call the police as he began to chase the suspect. Nothing was stolen during the robbery. The perpetrator got away.

  22. 250k says:

    I love how the unemployment report doesn’t even register on the NJRER’s radar anymore.

    Only 36,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls in January vs the expected 145,000.
    I guess when the overall unemployment rate falls 9 percent from 9.4 percent despite the jobs number, it really doesn’t matter.

    And the market already priced in the disappointing number, weather related and all that, because futures rose after the report on the smaller-than-expected gain in jobs.

    What ticker symbols should I throw a dart at today for my next long position? This will all end very well.

  23. scribe says:


    Does IS&T mean info systems & tech?

  24. NJGator says:

    Scribe – Yup

  25. Beyond Thunderdome says:

    JJ raised a good point the other day in the office guy vs. work-from-home guy.

    I’m the latter. Long story short: Work from home, build up a business, then sell it and work (from home) for the folks who bought your business.

    The days of being up at 6 am to work? Now, it’s being up at 7.
    The days of going to the gym for an hour mid-afternoon? It’s now a 90-minute gym trip (to offset the new Starbucks visits 2-3x a week).

    The question: if you’re working from home in the burbs for 5 years and all is well (bought a house with all the trappings, ready to have kids, etc) … what happens when that gravy train comes to an end?

    JJ said it’s a good short term plan, but long term it doesn’t work. That got me thinking … anyone ever work from home for more than 5 years? Like 10 or 15 or 20?

  26. grim says:

    I guess when the overall unemployment rate falls 9 percent from 9.4 percent despite the jobs number, it really doesn’t matter.

    You aren’t seriously touting the report as positive, are you?

    I’m on the road with clients this morning.

  27. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    Neanderthal Economist says:
    February 3, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    “The median vancouver home price as 638K CAD and the median vancouver household income as 56K CAD”

    Cat, let’s assume that rates go to zero. In that scenario, shall we continue to assume that prices need to correct?

  28. chicagofinance says:

    From Mushnick:
    What did CNN and Anderson Cooper expect while strolling through Cairo this week, to be approached by Chris Carlin and asked to play a round of “Beer Money?”

  29. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Grim 7

    Sad to think that the only way some of the low tier areas in NJ will ever see peak pricing again would be through massive inflation.

    Why so sad? housing is not an investment for all but a small group of people. It is consumption. Lower housing prices are net beneficial to society. people are so desperate for high prices right now because they all levered up believing it was some mythical investment vehicle.

  30. jamil says:

    23: So unemployment drops to 9% even though barely no new jobs created. Messiah can lower unemployment even without any need to create jobs? Nice job. I remember the hysteric negative headlines from Pelosi/NYT, in ancient history (back in 2004-2005), when only 150k jobs were created monthly at 4.5% unemployment rate.

  31. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    Not every locale will have the same stable point for income/home price ratio. But in general it tells us how dislocated a market is.
    Even if we assumed that 50% of the purchases in vancouver were cash purchases, and the homeprice/income ratio was about 11 – 13, we can still say the that market has become highly stratified and is potentially/ likely to be unstable in the long term. A market where the median family can purchase the median home at something approach the long term historical ratio is a market that is mobile and probably has a strong, well developed middle class.
    If nothing else then we can say that a market with a homeprice/income ratio as high as Vancouver is seeing substantial mis-allocation of resources. A family that spends more then 505 of its income on housing will be economically less productive then one who spends less on housing and has more disposable income available

  32. scribe says:


    I’m signed up for the AP’s job alerts. I got one the other day that was IT – somehow they matched it to my resume because I sometimes cover tech.

    Email me as and I’ll forward it to you. Maybe it will match someone you know.

  33. NJGator says:

    You’ve got mail, Scribe.

  34. scribe says:


    Me – 30 years with just one short one-year hiatus in a staff job to get the medical coverage in 89/90. Had busted up a knee in aerobics.

    Lots of points where business disappeared – media being extremely cyclical and volatile. But I always seem to find something new. Not without its moments but I think past a certain point, you develop instincts for how to stay above water in rough seas.

  35. broke says:

    Why are companies hiring more workers when average work week hours is less than prior of 34.3 hours actual is 34.2 hours.Companies need to see average work week hours to move up before hiring more workers

    Prior Consensus Consensus Range Actual
    Nonfarm Payrolls – M/M change 103,000 140,000 55,000 to 200,000 36,000
    Private Payrolls – M/M change 113,000 150,000 72,000 to 210,000 50,000
    Unemployment Rate – Level 9.4 % 9.5 % 9.2 % to 9.6 % 9.0 %
    Average Hourly Earnings – M/M change 0.1 % 0.2 % 0.1 % to 0.2 % 0.4 %
    Av Workweek – All Employees 34.3 hrs 34.3 hrs 34.3 hrs to 34.4 hrs 34.2 hrs

  36. whipped says:

    any predictions on prices in Bergen, specifically Englewood area , short term and long term? grim?

  37. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [112] [prior thread] Debt

    “I have family there, and they are your basic, salt-of-the-earth Frenchy Canucks. S0cialist to the core, and hate the Bruins.”

    Funny. I have family in Mass. Your basic salt-of-the-earth Bostonians. Fiscally conservative, somewhat libertarian, and hate the Gawd-damn Habs!

    I’ve been to Montreal. Many times. It sucks.

  38. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [38]\ redux

    In my final year of youth hockey, my team was the Canadiens. Boy, we were not happy about being assigned to that logo. Years later, I gave my jersey to an old girlfriend at Mount Holyoke College and that was that.

  39. scribe says:

    by the way, wouldn’t recommend it now because the only way to get reasonable health insurance is through corporate groups.

  40. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Went to a seminar last night in the brig. Subject was property tax appeals, and the sponsor was a local realtor. Will offer up sales info to prospects in order to help with their appeals. Nice piece of cross-marketing.

    I can imagine the sales pitch: “Close to the schools, stainless and granite kitchen, and overvalued by 25% so its ripe for a tax appeal.”

  41. broke says:

    NJ total unemployment benefits together with EUC is 79 weeks .State Unemployment is 26 weeks.Tier 1 is 20 weeks.Tier 2 is 14 weeks.Tier 3 is 13 weeks and Tier 4 is 6 weeks a total of 79 weeks

  42. scribe says:


    Back at ya :)

  43. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    250K #23

    There is nothing to be excited about. The official stats are so rigged they are a joke and even a casual glance at the real world shows we arent close to cleaning the mess up yet. The average income is dropping as high paying jobs are replaced with low paying service jobs and the participation rate in the job force drops like a rock. This mess wont be cleaned up until the system is cleared of fraud, bad debt, and unserviceable promises (in other words, not any time soon)

    At 64.2%, the labor force participation rate (as a percentage of the total civilian noninstitutional population) is now at a fresh 26 year low, the lowest since March 1984, and is the only reason why the unemployment rate dropped to 9% (labor force declined from 153,690 to 153,186). Those not in the Labor Force has increased from 83.9 million to 86.2 million, or 2.2 million in one year! As for the numerator in the fraction, the number of unemployed, it has plunged from 15 million to 13.9 million in two months! The only reason for this is due to the increasing disenchantment of those who completely fall off the BLS rolls and no longer even try to look for a job. Lastly, we won’t even show what the labor force is as a percentage of total population. It is a vertical plunge

  44. NJGator says:

    Nom 41 – You know that’s not how it will be listed. It will say something like “Priced 25% Below Assessment” in order to convey to the buyer that they are getting a DEAL!

    The Gator family gets all of their tax appeal comp info from friendly realtors.

  45. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Nope, no fraud/theft here….

    Bank of New York Mellon Corp. currency traders used a foreign-exchange system called “Charlie” to create fake trades and overcharge Virginia pension funds by at least $20 million, according to allegations in recently unsealed documents in a Virginia court.

  46. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    You and Grim should team up and make your little tax appeal gig a paying venture. You certainly have the system down and grim can access the data for you.

  47. Painhrtz says:

    Nom got that beat, in a roller hockey summer league we were assigned the flyers for the independent house team. We all drew slashes through the logo. Team of Ranger and Devil fans

    dyed in the wool ranger fan, there are 4 teams I hate islanders, bruins, flyers, and the devils.

    Gator, you should advertise an appeals service for Montklair, could be a good little side buisness. Better than having lil gator shake down recreational pharmaceutical consultants outside of the grammar school

  48. 250k says:

    grim (27)
    >>You aren’t seriously touting the report as positive, are you?

    700,000 people mysteriously disappeared last month. That’s awesome. It’s just what DebtNova wants to see! Month prior, the aliens staged the disappearance of 500,000 people. What is not to like?

    If we can just relocate a few more million people to Mars and Saturn, our UE rate will drop to 4% and we can dance a jig. Plenty of oil, sugar and soybeans for everyone.

    SchroCat (44)
    See my response to grim above.

  49. NJGator says:

    Pain 48 – Gig might be up temprarily in Montklair. Township is going to redo the assessments for 2012. Although in typical Montklair fashion, they ignored the problem for so long that instead of a less costly reassessment (that uses the data from the 2006 inspections), they are going to have to do a full blown revaluation and physically reinspect every single property in town.

    So now in addition to the unnecessary millions they’ve blown in ignoring the problem for so long, they are going to pay at least an extra $600k for the more costly revaluation.

    But since we are in a death spiral of taxes and mismanagement here, even if they lowball the assessments, I figure it will only be another 2 years before people start to have viable appeals again.

  50. 250k says:

    ComNom (41)

    Re: prop tax appeals in the brig.

    Some of the listings in the ‘doon are impossible to understand. Fully renovated 6 bedroom 4.5 bath home in a nice part of town, 50×190 lot with $12k in taxes. Updated 3 bedroom 1.5 bath home in a different nice part of town, 80×150 lot with $17k in taxes. I have to wonder if some people who are in tight with the tax assessor got away with murder on their renovation work and others just suffered at his or her hands.

    Unless you are simply not paying attention, how does the 3bed1.5bath homeowner not protest those taxes?

    Is there general agreement in Westfield that no one wants a full town reassessment performed, ever?

  51. jerseycityguy says:

    Long piece on HuffPo–probably not this sites go-to source.

  52. NJGator says:

    250k – Reassessments cost a lot of money. I am guessing that no town does one until the County Board of Taxation orders it.

    There is no statutory requirement that a revaluation be performed by a municipality at any given
    interval. A municipality is required to perform a revaluation when municipal data indicate that properties
    in the municipality are not being assessed at the same ratio to their true value. One of the best sources of
    this type of information is the assessment-sales ratio data gathered in the equalization program for the
    distribution of State school aid.1 An individual assessment-sales ratio is determined by dividing a property’s
    assessment by its sales price. (For example, a property assessed for $100,000, which sold for $150,000,
    would have a 67% assessment-sales ratio. A property assessed for $200,000 which sold for $175,000
    would have a 1.14% assessment/sales ratio.) If these individual ratios vary widely, a revaluation program
    should be undertaken. If most of these ratios fall within a narrow range, this is a sign of substantial equality
    in assessments, and a revaluation would not be necessary.
    Another method of determining the need for a revaluation program is by studying the coefficients
    of deviation for the municipality that are published annually by the Division of Taxation in the Department
    of the Treasury. A higher coefficient of deviation indicates a lack of uniformity of assessments and a need
    for a revaluation, while a low coefficient of deviation indicates a better degree of assessment uniformity and
    no need to revalue.
    According to the Handbook for New Jersey Assessors, published by the Division of Taxation, the
    division publishes annually for each municipality three coefficients of deviation, which are expressed as
    percentages: the general coefficient of deviation; the stratified coefficient of deviation and the segmented
    coefficient of deviation.

    The general coefficient of deviation measures the variation in assessment-sales ratios for all
    properties in a municipality. It is the average deviation of individual assessment-sales ratios from the overall
    average assessment-sales ratio of sales of real property occurring in the municipality, and is calculated using
    sales data from the sale of those properties. A general coefficient of deviation of 15 or less is considered
    acceptable, and no revaluation is needed. Effectively, this means that as long as all real property in the
    municipality is assessed at somewhere between 85% and 115% of the average, no revaluation is necessary.
    The stratified coefficient of deviation measures assessment uniformity within each class of
    municipal property. The classes of real property are vacant land, residential, farmland, and all other.
    The segmented coefficient of deviation measures the degree of uniformity of each property
    classes against all property classes combined. It represents the average deviation of all assessment-sales
    ratios within a particular class of property from the average assessment sales-ratio of all sales of properties
    occurring within the municipality.

  53. #19 – xroads – and how many jobs would a cop or teacher job support in the economy

    This is a good point and part of a the Catch-22 to the austerity programs.
    In terms of any estimate of the affects of large scale (whatever that may mean) public sector layoffs and knock-on/ripple affects in the local economy, I have no idea. David Stockman, the former Reagan era head of the Office of Management and Budget has talked about this on a number of forums. His main point, which I’ll do a bad job of summing up; “Public sector jobs are one of the last hold outs of fairly well paying middleclass incomes because we’ve allowed our goods producing sectors to fall by the wayside in exchange for the FIRE economy. Start laying them off and you’ll be compounding the issue.”
    For his part Stockman was stating this more as a note of the actuality of the issue rather than support of the public sector or ever increasing public deficits. He had a few interesting interviews on CNBC just before the holidays which, of course, I can’t find right now.
    Here’s a link to the 60 Minutes interview with him in which he touches on quite a few budgetary issues;

  54. NJGator says:

    250k – Also remember that a revaluation does not impact how much money the town brings in in taxes, it only affects WHO is paying it. The town still gets their money, so what do they care is the little guy with the overtaxed 3/1.5 is getting royally screwed compared to his neighbors.

  55. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Xroads, Tosh

    Hence this mess wont be cleaned up until the US regenerates a productive ( as in production) economy.

  56. Neanderthal Economist says:

    5, 7 – Grim, thanks for posting this one… those comparative stats explain a lot about why ‘its different here’.

    “The following is a list of cities where shadow inventories are expected to take the longest to clear, according to S&P’s most recent fourth quarter 2010 data.”

    * New York: 130 months
    * Boston: 71 months
    * Charlotte, N.C.: 65 months
    * Miami: 60 months
    * Chicago: 59 months
    * Seattle: 59 months
    * Cleveland: 57 months
    * Tampa, Fla.: 57 months
    * Dallas: 56 months

  57. #56 – No, it won’t. Currently we see no political will to do so either. Short of some sort of paradigm shift, if you’ll pardon the overused Khun phrase, in the minds of the Fed/Treasury/etc I don’t see any of it changing either.

  58. Neanderthal Economist says:

    “A family that spends more then 50% of its income on housing will be economically less productive”

    Cat, if rates went to zero then the families would spend less on housing, despite higher prices. Thats why the home price to income ratio explains only 25% of the story.

  59. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Cat, let me spin the question to exaderate the point.
    If mortg rates go to zero and property taxes go to zero, are home prices still too high compared to median income?

  60. Painhrtz says:

    Gator i’ll take my 2bath 3 bed split 150*200 lot for 6800 over any of those houses. Granted I don’t get to lift my nose up at any one. For the love of God when did 12k become reasonable taxes

  61. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Chi, the fact that you got crickets from this one confuses me.
    Thats some good stuff.

    29.chicagofinance says:
    February 4, 2011 at 9:30 am

    From Mushnick:
    What did CNN and Anderson Cooper expect while strolling through Cairo this week, to be approached by Chris Carlin and asked to play a round of “Beer Money?”

  62. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    yes. the problem is that your scenarios cant be played out. the market will “price in” any of those changes. if taxes and interest go to 0 then the principle will go up, as whatever the speculative forces are that are driving the bubbleicious environment at any given time will still be imputing the same amount of capital into the bubble, but more of it will be directed at principle instead of going to taxes and interest.

  63. Neanderthal Economist says:

    If you really believe that ‘yes’ is the right answer to that question, then lets tweak it again and see if it all makes any sense.
    So, pretend that property taxes triple and mortgage rates go to 20% all at the same time. Shouldn’t home prices now correct even more?

  64. Juice Box says:

    re: office guy vs. work-from-home guy

    All I have to say about this whole debate is Real Heavy Hitters aren’t chained to one office or desk. I work out of two buildings on in NY and one in NJ where I have an office in each as well as my 3rd office at home whenever I need to do something. I spend daytime working hours 8-6, 9-5 etc in any of those places and move sometimes thoughout the day between them as I need. I also work fine from the road. I was in Florida all week working via mobile and did not skip a beat, did not miss a meeting or phone call, and nothing went into voice mail.

    The old drudgery of the 9-5 with the commute to the city is becoming a thing of the past. If you work for a global company and travel for either work or pleasure you need to be always on and always available anyway. Work does not end at 6 PM for me when I step into the parking lot, onto the train platform or the jetway.

    We have people here management and execs with a decade or more experience that have been able to pick up and move out of NJ. I know of more than one Heavy Hitter who dumped his New Jersey McMansion and moved to out of NY Metro and have not looked back. We also have more than a few road warriors why fly into work here part time and move around quite a bit during the week.

    Not all of us can be Partners, Directors, VPs, CFOs, CEOs, CIOs, CSO, etc so if you know that is not your career path than why be chained to a desk up here in NY Metro with the high overhead?

    Another point about mobile and global. The new mantra for allot of companies including ones in the financial realm will be “Get Social” allot of the old office barriers will be breaking down as companies start moving more and more business into the virtual social global realm. Doesn’t mean there won’t be a place for water-cooler office banter but there will be no need for it as the office barriers come down and more and more is done online.

  65. jamil says:

    when you fight for tax appeals or otherwise question the Government Employee’s decision, make sure you don’t have too much details or too intelligent analysis. You might be quilty of practising law/engineering/whatever.

    “RALEIGH — David N. Cox says he was merely exercising his right to petition the government, but a state Department of Transportation official has raised allegations that Cox committed a misdemeanor: practicing engineering without a license.

    The eight-page document with maps, diagrams and traffic projections was offered to buttress their contention that signals will be needed at the Falls of Neuse at Coolmore Drive intersection and where the road meets Tabriz Point / Lake Villa Way.

    It did not persuade Kevin Lacy, chief traffic engineer for the state DOT, to change his mind about the project. Instead, Lacy called on a state licensing agency, the N.C. Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors, to investigate Cox.”

    tar and feathers needed.

  66. jamil says:

    65 “The old drudgery of the 9-5 with the commute to the city is becoming a thing of the past”

    Yep, though when the layoffs starts, it much easier to get rid of the guy who works from his Hawaii home office than the guy in the next office. Besides, you always had to accomodate for the guy anyway. Likewise, your promotion chances are limited without constant facetime access to execs. Another annoying issue is IT support. If your corporate laptop breaks down in your home office in Florida (and your real-world office is in NJ), it it expensive/difficult to get it fixed soon.

    That said, I agree that with multinationals and increased international teamwork/outsourcing, the old rules do not apply that much. Conference calls are increasingly at night or 5am anyway, because somebody is always in different timezone. Besides, your boss in Singapore/Munich could not care less if you at home or in Manhattan office.

  67. NJGator says:

    Pics are up for the GR short sale at 106 Stonehouse. House has no central air, no pics of bathrooms and below is a pic of the kitchen.

    House was bought in May 2000 for $325k. Now short at $629k. Clearly the HELOC money was not used for updates. I wonder what they blew all that cash on.

  68. ricky_nu says:

    #68 – answer:

    blow and hookers

  69. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    perhaps a better use of the money as opposed to some shoddy homedepot kitchen with radioactive granite and toxic chinese drywall.

  70. NJ Toast says:

    Concrete Canvas: basically a flexible mess tent w/ concrete impregnated into it – wet it down and it turns to concrete. Fireproof and possibly bulletproof. All you need to do is add water and air. The perfect item when you run out of time to face the oblivion.

  71. NJ Toast says:

    mess = mesh / canvas

  72. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    Bullet proof to a .22 perhaps. 5.56/.223 rifle rounds or larger will probably penetrate.

  73. nj escapee says:

    Juice Box, 65, No one has questioned my ability to be effective working from home after the first few months. I’m just a rank and file kinda guy who gets the job done.

  74. ditto says:

    That GR stonehouse road short sale is awful. Ask is at least 20% too high.

  75. NJGator says:

    For all you Steelers fams out there…

  76. NJ Toast says:

    Cat – when you buy the tent, that’s all you get. If you want ballistics performance info on the thing, thats extra. Post was possibly bulletproof – if your bullet is powerful enough, nothing stops it, think MOAAB.

  77. Juice Box says:

    Superbowl Joke.

    A man had 50 yard line tickets for the Super Bowl.

    As he sat down, he noticed that the seat next to him was empty.

    He asked the man on the other side of the empty seat whether anyone was sitting there.

    “No,” the man replied, “The seat is empty.”

    “This is incredible,” said the first man.

    “Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event in the world and not use it?”

    The second man replied, “Well, actually, the seat belongs to me. I was supposed to come with my wife, but she passed away.

    This will be the first Super bowl we haven’t been together since we got married in 1967.”

    “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. That’s terrible. But couldn’t you find someone else — a friend or relative, or even a neighbor to take the seat?”

    The man shook his head. “No, they’re all at the funeral.”

  78. Anon E. Moose says:

    Pain [74];

    Democratic organizers want a temperature “no warmer than 72 degrees, and no more than 50 percent relative indoor humidity” inside the arena.

    Can’t let us see them sweat. OTOH, the Hawaii-*cough*-native conservationist-in-chief probably would prefer it pushing 80.

  79. Painhrtz says:

    I’m sure they will use nothing but green energy to achieve that in the balmy summer temperatures of Charlotte

  80. 250k says:

    NJGator (55)

    >>what do they care if the little guy with the overtaxed 3/1.5 is getting royally screwed
    >> compared to his neighbors.

    Agree on all your points. What I am wondering is why the little guy with only 3 bedrooms isn’t outside the tax assessor’s office every day until he gets his taxes lowered? If I saw this happening just once in a while, I wouldn’t even comment but there are more than just a handful of homes where the discrepancy is obvious.

    Why are some homeowners so willing to just bend over and take it? It doesn’t take much legwork at all to prove that your home is being improperly assessed.

    Perhaps more importantly (at least from my perspective), if you are a potential home buyer and find one of these homes that are clearly paying far less than their fair share, do you take the gamble and risk that a town-wide reassessment will drive your annual property taxes through the roof? It has to be taken into consideration because most of these homeowners with big homes but relatively low taxes are charging a premium to take over their tax bill. If you pay the premium AND get hit with a town-wide reassessment a few years later, you are ph*cked.

  81. NJGator says:

    250k – My guess, beyond people’s natural laziness, is that they don’t realize they can do anything. The average ratio in Westfield for this tax year is 25.92%, so your assessment should be roughly 1/4 of what your house is worth. Joe Schmo is assessed for 33% of what his house is worth, and he is totally getting hosed, but doesn’t think he can challenge an assessment that is obviously way less than what his property is worth.

  82. Anon E. Moose says:

    250, Gator [83, 84];

    My theory on why most bougies pay through nose for blue-ribbony train towns is all between their ears. They don’t want to have to live next to the proles, so they pay more for the same stuff. If values are inflated, then the po’ folk (esp. the dark-skinned ones) can’t afford to move next door to them. Nevermind that they can get the same house/services for much less in other towns – all they want is the zip code. Its also self-proving – it must be worth more because they paid so much for it.

    So they don’t want to do ANYTHING that would make their living conditions more affordable — like appeal their property taxes — it might attract an undesirable element.

  83. njreal says:


    Good point about exclusivity. “Blue-ribbony” towns are absolutely all about exclusivity. However, I think in many ways the property taxes are irrelevant. The exclusivity is a function of supply and demand. Therefore, lets say the demand for exclusivity is high enough that the cost of ownership in certain towns is X. X is the combination of the price of the house and property taxes. If the property tax factor were to go down, the cost of the house would go up. Either way, the exclusivity demand would keep the cost of living in the town at X.

    Am I missing something?

  84. NJGator says:

    250k 83 – Re revaluation, it is a big risk. And chances are, somebody will pay a premium for the underassessed house, because the taxes are low. If you pay that premium right before the revaluation, you will really get slammed.

  85. Whip Inflation Now says:

    For the most recent quarter, Tyson said the average wholesale price for its pork spiked 23.5%, beef jumped 16.4%, and prepared foods shot up 12.6%.

    This is translating into higher retail prices at grocery stores. Ground-beef prices are up 6.2% over year-ago levels, while steak prices are up 5.4% and pork prices are up 11.2%, according to recent U.S. Agriculture Department data.

    Expect that trend to continue.

    “I don’t believe consumers at retail have seen the type of food inflation they will see because of rising commodity costs. There is more yet to come,” said Tyson Chief Executive Donnie Smith in response to a question about supermarket prices during a call with reporters.

  86. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [85] moose

    FWIW, I did a quick back of the envelope check, and figured that my house was probably fairly valued, perhaps slightly undervalued, and is definitely not outside of the 15% corridor. Unless the comps come in a lot lower than what I think they are, I don’t have any appeal grounds.

    Oh well.

  87. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [88] win

    That’s why I have several pounds of bacon in the freezer. Yum.

    And you are dating yourself. Do you remember the WIN pins from the Ford Administration?

  88. RayC says:

    From The NYT

    In a Snowy January, Job Numbers Fail to Take Off
    By MOTOKO RICH 22 minutes ago

    The reported job growth of 36,000 jobs was well below forecasts, though some economists blamed the weather.

    The weather? The weather? It stops people from going to open houses, and now, it keeps them from working. All hail the great and powerful Al Roker.

  89. Shore Guy says:


    I remember people wearing them upside down: No Immediate Miracles

  90. Shore Guy says:


    Strawberry Mansion was once exclusive in Philly. HOW did that work out?

  91. Juice Box says:

    re #88- commodity price inflation.

    Bernake went out of he way yesterday in his speech to take credit for and give himself and Attaboy for Stock prices rising, but not commodities. Bernake was warned by many yet he claims that the commodity prices rising is not do to his QE2 policy. Let us hope that the Middle Easy instability which can be attributed to cost push inflation created by rising commodity prices does not spread from North Africa to a place like Pakistan where a regime change might give way to a militant government armed with nuclear weapons. Another perhaps less desirable result of the unintended consequence of QE2 might be Nuke War between India and Pakistan or worse. Bernanke, as an expert on the Great Depression must know that employment crisis in the USA ended with the mobilization for WW II. How about this time as Global Unemployment continues to rise we now have a mobilization of the towards WW III?

    London (CNN) — World food prices rose to an all-time high in January, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The FAO’s Food Price Index measures the cost of a basket of basic food supplies — sugar, cereals, dairy, oils and fats and meat — across the globe.The index rose by 3.4% in January — the seventh monthly increase in a row — to its highest level since records began in 1990. The cost of sugar, cereals, dairy and oils and fats all went up last month, while meat prices remained steady. FAO economist Abdolreza Abbassian said high prices were likely to persist in the months to come.

  92. gary says:

    Every f*cking headline tauting the jobs report makes a major reference to the unemployment rate dropping to 9.0% yet it doesn’t explain the logic. The 36,000 jobs created is like a p1ss in the ocean and not one f*cking online article I’ve read discusses in length the reasoning behind the numbers. This country is f*cking doomed, I’m convinced. We have two industries in this country; poor entertainment and sh1tty fast food and both employ a whole bunch of stup1d, fat f*cks because they certainly can’t write an indepth article.

  93. NJ Toast says:

    Now that BAC is in the process of ridding itself of Balboa Insurance, it can no longer make the big kill on forced placed insurance so the they are bringing in someone to clean up their mtg mess:

  94. plume (38)-

    Boston has loads of really bad restaurants.

    Montreal also has loads of really bad restaurants…then, a group of restaurants that serve poutine, the #1 food on the planet to eat before, during or after consumption of large amounts of liquor.

  95. pain (48)-

    What would happen if Gator advertised her tax appeal services through that s0cialist rag, aka Baristanet?

    She’d probably get banned.

  96. 250K (49)-

    The only UE stat that matters is how many Amerikans are on food stamps.

    Hungry don’t lie.

  97. Confused In NJ says:

    Ben Bernake learned everything he knows from his pisan Bernard Madoff.

  98. grim says:

    Just close down GA…

    From the FDIC:

    Bank Closing Information
    February 4, 2011

    Community First Bank – Chicago, Chicago, IL
    North Georgia Bank, Watkinsville, GA
    American Trust Bank, Roswell, GA

  99. GA is definitely the financial sphincter of Amerika.

  100. Shore Guy says:


    Here is something you might enjoy about cracking Kryptos:

  101. Anon E. Moose says:

    Debt [99]

    +1 poutine

  102. Whip Inflation Now says:

    “We have two industries in this country; poor entertainment and sh1tty fast food and both employ a whole bunch of stup1d, fat f*cks because they certainly can’t write an indepth article.”


    What’s wrong with creating jobs within the leisure, hospitality and health industries which pay $10/hr w/o benefits? Are you claiming that an eat, drink and get sick economy is not the cornerstone for sustainable growth? Should one expect an economy which thrives on savings and investment which actually produces stuff? No need to innovate, just bail out the bankers and throw 45M a bone. One other item, don’t forget to blame the Chinese for manipulating their currency.

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