Implications of the NoVa Real Estate Bust

Moody’s/ has just published a forecast of single-family housing prices in the nation’s 150 largest metropolitan areas, “The Single-Family Housing Market Monitor.” The news is not good — especially for the Washington metropolitan area. (I cannot link to the report directly. But go here and then click on “View a sample copy.”)

According to a Wall Street Journal article based on the study, economists are projecting a 12 percent price decline in the Washington area from the peak in the fourth quarter of 2005 to the second quarter of 2008 when the market hits bottom.

In Appendix B, the report ranks Bethesda, Md., as the most overpriced market in the country, followed by Washington, D.C. (which appears to include Northern Virginia). Richmond ranked 75th out of 150 metro regions for overpricing — meaning, essentially, that its housing market is in balance. Hampton Roads (Virginia Beach) is ranked 90th, also in balance.

The news about Northern Virginia should come as no surprise to readers of Bacon’s Rebellion. We’ve been predicting a bursting of the credit- and speculation-driven bubble for more than a year. What’s interesting is that Moody’s/ has put a number on the price decline.

Politically, what happens when housing prices drop 12 percent on average? Long-term home owners who have built up significant equity in their houses will feel relatively little pain. But newbies, many of them leveraged to the hilt, and old-timers who have borrowed against their rising house values, will see their housing equity evaporate. That will severely undercut their ability to borrow and spend.

Under those circumstances, you can be sure that Northern Virginians will perk up and pay attention when local governments jack up nominal tax rates by 12 percent just to maintain the same revenue flow — something they haven’t had to do in years. Paying $3,000 a year in property taxes doesn’t hurt so much when the value of your house has increased $25,000. But it hurts real baaad when your house has lost $25,000 in value, wiping out half of your equity. A political firestorm seems inevitable.

The timing could not be worse for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who is threatening to make taxes for transportation an issue in the 2007 General Assembly elections. Kaine and his allies in the Axis of Taxes will be calling for $1 billion or more in state tax increases at the very same time that homeowners are suffering from declines in net worth and, most likely, voluably protesting rising local property taxes. I find dubious the proposition that voters will respond warmly to the call for higher state taxes.

As the Northern Virginia real estate debacle slowly unfolds, the political implications will become increasingly obvious to everyone.

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28 responses to “Implications of the NoVa Real Estate Bust”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    How retarded does one have to be to qualify as a “conservative”? Only slighly? Or do you have to be a full blown retard?

  2. Ben Mays Avatar

    What date was the WSJ article?

  3. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Ben, The article was in today’s Journal. Front Page, personal finance section.

    Anonymous: Who do you think you’re persuading with a comment like that?

  4. Ben Mays Avatar

    Thanks, Jim.

  5. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    Now take a look at the Fed Chairs view of housing’s impact on the economy in WaPo today.

    When housing and autos catch cold, the economy goes to the emergency room.

    The prescription for recovery is more houses and more autonomobiles.

    Anyone else think the US of A is chasing its tail deeper into the abyss of over-consumption by building the wrong size house in the wrong location?


  6. Gold_h2o Avatar

    I agree that a political firestorm seems inevitable. It’s going to get nasty.

    Here’s my take, for what it’s worth (and I work in real estate in NOVA).

    A lot of people close to the real estate market, particularly realtors, think it’s going to bounce back in the spring. I disagree.

    A) If you look at how much development has been approved it’s always going to be easier, and perhaps a better investment, to buy a new house as opposed to one that is “old”, or not “new.” All of the development that’s in the hopper is what sellers have to compete against (in addition to the other inventory on the market). Many sellers have to deal with that now. Builders are throwing all kinds of incentives to get the buyers and many times they win. Building has slowed somewhat but once it picks up again the same scenario will be in place. That’s scary if you bought a house thinking you were going to get a 10% or more increase in equity each year….those days are OVER.

    B) The market was overvalued. There was no justification for the prices folks were paying. I can point out dozens of $1 million+ homes that are now listed in the $800,000 range…..still no takers.

    C) NOVA is one of the most expensive places in the country to live/work/play. As TMT said in a previous post, “if costs continue to grow and the quality of life continues to decline, will people continue to accept transfers here?”

    My answer is no, they won’t. As a matter of fact, I would bet that 80% of the sellers I talked to over the past 8 months were leaving the area. They cited higher taxes, terrible traffic, and a “pace” of life that does not justify the cost.

    The crux of the “firestorm”, IMO, is that NOVA is going to need more money to properly fix the transportation problems that exist there. However, Jim is correct, there is no way voters will support any sort of tax increase to fix the problem if the value of their house is decreasing.

    Heads are going to roll, no doubt. I just don’t know who is going to go to the gallows first.

  7. Ray Hyde Avatar


    If we consume we go into the abyss.

    If we don’t consume, we have no jobs.

    As housing values go down, taxes go up.

    Of course we have no jobs to pay the taxes, so it won’t matter.

    If you didn’t already sell and get out, you may be stuck.

    If you did sell, where will you go? They don’t have any jobs there either.

    But, if we all had houses in the right location, we could walk to the jobs we don’t have.

    Well, that’s one way to fix the traffic problem, and it’s free, no cost!

    And we’ll have all those houses in the wrong areas that were taken over by the tax man for nonpayment. I suppose we could raise some money by auctioning them off.

    Can the Republicans stall off the coming abyss until after the election?

    Stay tuned.

  8. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    In terms of housing prices and transportation congestion and several other parameters including taxes – the Wash Metro area ranks lower than many other metro areas.

    So.. perhaps we’re might end up with some superficial bleeding but we certainly won’t be among the first of the urban areas to get a busted aorta I wouldn’t think….

    Wash Metro is also somewhat unique among USA urban areas in that it’s economy is primarily pegged to the hundreds of thousands of permanent white-collar employees of the Federal Government and their allied contractor support companies.

    so .. I don’t see those jobs going away like perhaps might be the case in urban areas that have a much smaller Fed presence … i.e. those guys writing air quality standards at the EPA are not going to go away because Toll Brother homes goes belly up.. etc.. et al.

    Even for the folks that get into financial straights with their “over-exuburance” housing apppetites will survive as long as they keep their govt job… they may bail on a mortgage and have some other financial unpleasantness but they’ll still be around.. perhaps in more modest digs… with a “beater” car vice a new SUV… or some such.. 🙂

    In other words.. they’ll still be on the highways every day.

    Now what happens to the land-speculators… and their allied brethren … well there may well be some mortality… of those who were hanging off the cliff to begin with. 🙂

  9. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    So.. Kaine and the Senate are going to launch a 2007 campaign to raise people’s taxes .. in an election year…

    I know I’m not the sharpest pencil in the drawer and perhaps that’s why I fail to understand Kaine and company’s strategy.

    It would seem .. that if they’re after MORE money for transportation – there are OTHER paths besides outright tax increases.

    I think the average person will be much more”OK” with user fees and consumption taxes (such as sales taxes) where, in theory, they have options to reduce consumption both daily and longer term as a way of mitigating/reducing their costs…

    whereas with property and income taxes – they do not. They get slammed no matter what they might be able to do as individuals.

    What would be wrong with Kaine and the Senate GA passing legislation that allows LOCAL choice (referenda) in increasing sales taxes and user fees for transportation?

    The state already allows local tax increases for jurisidicitions that form regional transportation authorities .

    I just continue to think that it’s a sham to imply to Va Taxpayers that statewide taxes will be collected from everyone but somehow when the money is allocated – everyone will get more than they contributed in the first place.

    I just don’t think the average Va taxpayer is going to buy this concept. That guy in Farmville does NOT sit in traffic everyday for 45 minutes to get to his job.. with a salary that is 1/2 of those who work in NoVa and he is going to share this thought with his Va GA elected rep….

  10. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Superb discussion. We aren’t all in the same boat because of the presence of the federal government.

    George Mason University has done a study indicating that more than half of the workers in Metro D.C. have no connection to the local economy. “[T]hose guys writing air quality standards at the EPA are not going to go away because Toll Brother homes goes belly up” is absolutely correct. The two major projects I’ve been working on this week are for a New Jersey corporation dealing with the feds and for a company in Florida related to a federal problem in Wisconsin. My wife is a career fed. (Moreover, we bought our house in the late 80s, and the hassles of life here overwhelmed our egos and desires to move up and buy a bigger house.)

    I wish no one economic harm, but I can make a strong argument that I’m probably benefited when people decide that they won’t move here or want to leave. That produces incrementally fewer people on the roads, in schools, in the parks, etc. Moreover, there is a good likelihood that I would never do any work for these people anyway. According to GMU, I’m not alone. Growth doesn’t benefit everyone; indeed, many are better off with no more development. But growth costs everyone, both in a diminished quality of life and higher taxes.

    This leads to the issue of “trust.” Most people, Rs, Ds & Is, don’t trust Virginia government on land use issues, especially in Fairfax County. So if the majority of people distrust the government on anything related to land use and every other working adult has no stake whatsoever in the local economy, why would the majority of people support higher taxes to foster more growth? Kaine won because he promised not to permit more development where the roads were already overcrowded. I know quite a few people who regard Kaine as an out-of-touch tax and spend liberal, but still voted for him on the basis of development controls. Fairfax County rejected the sales tax increase for transportation.

    If I were crazier than I am and wanted to run for the Senate, I’d go door-to-door reminding people that Tim Kaine fibbed about regulating development. I’d promise not to vote for any taxes increases for transportation unless they were coupled with APFO authority for Fairfax County. I’d also campaign on mandatory, cost-based impact fees. I think that I’d do well whether in a D or R district. (BTW, thanks much Gold-H20 for your discussion of builder incentives on real estate. It’s one more confirmation that markets control whether, and to what extent, impact fees can be recovered from buyers.)

    The situation is much more complex than John Chichester can fathom.

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    and toomanytaxes, if you would have paid your fair share of the acutal cost based impact fees (infrastucture costs) as you came along, we wouldn’t be in the pickle we are today.

  12. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    3:36 That might be correct if Virginia had imposed those fees across the board. At a minimum, we would not be in as bad of shape as we are today if Virginia had been imposing these fees all along.

    I have lived in other states where I bought two brand new houses and where impact fees were imposed. I have no idea as to what proportion of those fees were included in the price of the two houses I purchased. I suppose that the sales prices of the two homes probably recovered at least part of the impact fees paid by the builders or developers involved.

    In one instance, the market was pretty strong when I bought a new house. I would guess, therefore, that the builder recovered all of his costs from me. The next time I moved, I also bought a new house, but the market was a bit slower as interest rates were quite high. The builder had an inventory of built, but unsold, houses. He came down some from his list price, so he may have eaten some of the impact fees and other costs just to clear some of his inventory. I don’t know the particulars.

    I’ve worked with a number of developers and builders in Georgia, where they pay impact fees. The real estate people have told me that they consider the fees and the market conditions before they start a project. If they think that they can recover their costs, they proceed. Sometimes, they don’t proceed with a project or reduce the price they will pay for the land. They and their buyers seem to cope.

  13. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: impact fees

    I know I keep going back to the water/sewer model so if folks have heard enough of this.. let me know… 🙂

    We already HAVE an impact fee MODEL in the form of water/sewer availabiilty fees in most areas in Virginia.

    It’s usually a rather hefty one-time charge for a new house or for an existing house transitioning from a well/septic to water/sewer.

    FACT: It’s ALSO the pro-rata cost of the infrastructure necessary to provide capacity to that home. The money collected is to either pay off the bond for the existing facility and/or to build a fund for the next plant upgrade which will be needed as growth occurs.

    I’m no Real Estate person so I don’t know if water/sewer adds to the homes value.. but I would think it would simply because of maintenance and repairs of well/septic over time.

    So.. I’m making the claim that we already have “impact fees” in reality for one kind of infrastructure and it “works” and it is fair and equitable to those that need that infrastructure.

    What we lack … is a similiar model for other major infrastructure – namely roads and schools – the “biggies”.

    But Roads is the the wheels come off… because there is no model (in Virgnia)… and counties who utilize proffers .. have no standardized method to calculate a structured fee – something that makes developers very leery of in terms of giving counties carte blanche in setting their own fees.

    Other states – namely those who have Home Rule – allow impact fees – and appear to have some methodologies.

    I would think as a start – that ALL subdivisions should NOT be accepted by the state but instead be allocated to each owner in that subdivison on a equal share basis and that the initial cost and maintenance costs be the responsibility of the folks who own property in that subdivision – essentially no different than a gated community.

    If this is done – more compact developments will be less expensive – and mixed-use developments.. cheaper even more.

    Then the market will be a factor in the price of housing – and no one will be forced but instead will have options to choose depending on what they what to pay for.

    Looking at my own subdivision where there are 60 homes and 2 miles of roads – it would be quite a hefty fee if we were to be responsible financially for the maintenance and upkeep of that road.

    Think about this – our roads are being subsidized by other taxpayers – even those that live in apartments and compact developments – and this is a major factor in the financial challenges that VDOT faces.

  14. Tobias Jodter Avatar
    Tobias Jodter

    A couple of stories that demonstrate how firmly NOVA business has it’s mouth latched on the teat of the government pig..

    Perhaps if these expenditures were more evenly distributed across the US some of the pressures on land use would be a tad alleviated.

  15. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Larry, I don’t understand your last two paragraphs. I deliver hay to a subdivision like you describe, only they own and maintain their own roads. They have told me that they don’t want them taken over because it would mean higher taxes for them. I’m nsot sure how that works, but I seem to recall that my Alexandria neighborhood got a similar break because we had private trash colloction where others had municipal.

    But, they lived withthe dirt and noise of a gravel road – right in front of som pretty nice equestrian oriented homes. I hate to think what the runoff implications are, betweent he roads and the horses. But we can have lower road/maintenance costs through more efficient private providers, or we can just have worse conditions. These people chose worse conditions, but apparently the costs are low.

    If “our” roads are being subsidized by others in apartments and compact developments, wouldn’t that make VDOT financial challenges less and not more?

    I think your water and sewer model is perfectly OK. I don’t much care what the price is as long as it is fair, transparent, and predictable. Right now, I’ve got none of the above.

    My water/sewr tap fee in Alexandria was aroung $7000, I think. That would make it a wash with the well I dug and septic repaired here, except here I don’t get a monthly bill. But if something wrong, I’m on the hook, not them. eg. Lighitning took out my well pump. $350 dollars plus all the fun of pulling 300 fet of pipe and wire out of the ground to get at it. You gotta love being Harry omeowner with a job like that.

    But when the water meter in Alexandria failed it was two minutes on the phone with a pleasant and efficient woman, and they fixed it the same day. Amazing. Like I said, in Fairfax at least youget something for your money.

    I wouldn’t say that either one adds or subtracts, unless you have a bad well. People just expect that water and sewer will work, there are too many other factors more important. Most people would take well and septic in Middleburg over water and sewer in Springfield, I think.

    Anonymous 3:36 is at least partially right. If the rest of us ar not paying enough it would be easy to charge the newcomers too much. Not that shouldn’t pay, just that we not puss too much stuff off.

    The Marshall water supply is in a state of total failure. You can bet when it is rebuilt the new homes will pay for a big part of na entirely new system, which clearly should be shared equally – everybody is getting new water, new and old customers.

    “Growth doesn’t benefit everyone; indeed, many are better off with no more development.” Except the guy whose development gets prohibited. Make sure you include all the players when you talk about costs and benefits.

    Ive already shown the example where the savingS claimed by the county are more than offset by the loss to someone prevented from building. I don’t see how you have a savings to all taxpayers if the costs to one are greater. The county is legally prohibited from considering individual costs, but that desn’t mean it’s right.

  16. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: private roads

    if a private road is not built to VDOT standards then it will be cheaper to maintain.

    Locally, we’ve seen older subdivisions desperate to get VDOT to take over maintenance but VDOT will not do it unless they are first brought up to state standards.

    To put into perspective how much it costs to maintain a road – consider the cost of removing …say a 5 inch snow from a one mile long subdivision road or the road needs to be sealed and/or resurfaced. Think about how much it costs to seal/research a 50 foot driveway in front of your garage.

    I’m quite sure – if VDOT were to release mantenance cost info on one or two representative subdivisions that it would be a shock…. except to those folks who lived there originally and tried to maintain it themselves.

    I have a 400 foot driveway. It can cost $100 or more to plow snow off of it and a load of gravel is $200.

    My “share” of the one mile road into our subdivision would be maybe 85 feet. Imagine my costs if I had to pay for a new two-inch layer of asphalt – as was done earlier this year.

    Compare than to a guy who lives in a townouse development. His “share” would be quite a bit less – and yet .. he and I pay exactly the same to VDOT via our gas tax – and I get twice, three times as much back for my money than he does.

  17. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Come on, Larry, you can do better than that. Your benefit from the roads depends a lot more on how much you drive and how much other people drive for you, than just what is in front of your house.

    Besides, more than gas tax pays for roads.

    Yeah, you might have to pay for two inches of asphault, once every twenty years. I see your point, but really.

  18. Gold_h2o Avatar

    Re: Private roads

    When it snows, who plows and salts the Dulles toll road, VDOT or a private contractor? For that matter, who is paying for all of the paving that’s taking place on the road now?

    Re: Public roads

    When it snows who plows your street, VDOT or your local city/county works department? Also, who repaints the lines on your local streets when it needs to be done, VDOT or your locality?

    It’s my observation that VDOT handles the main roadways, i.e., interstates and major arteries while my local govn’t handles the side streets, in both examples cited above.

    If we are going to privatize VDOT (or local road maintenance for that matter) are these the type of things that could be privatized (plowing and painting roads)?

    Just asking so I can get a better understanding of what folks are referring to when they speak of privatization.

  19. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Gold_H20 – My understanding is that, with the exception of Arlington & Henrico Counties and the cities and towns (e.g., Vienna), VDOT handles all maintenance for local/secondary streets. Sometimes, VDOT does the work itself with its own employees and othertimes it uses contractors. Fairfax County, for example, does not involve itself with repaving or even snow removal.

    If your experience is differnt, you must live in or near one of the exception localities. Hope this helps.

  20. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: “Your benefit from the roads depends a lot more on how much you drive and how much other people drive for you, than just what is in front of your house.”

    The house is a good way to show that the TYPE of development that one chooses to live in has inequitable consequences for those that pay gas taxes.

    But the inequities also extend to the use of other roads but showing the inequity is a bit more difficult because what folks think of is new construction and NOT why taxes must be raised because maintenance costs are consuming most of the VDOT budget.

    And those costs are not static – they are rising at a rate that will result in consuming the entire budget by 2011.

    People think it’s inflation when, in fact, it’s new lane miles – 400 per year added to VDOT’s maintenance budget.

    The statement that everyone pays for roads and everyone benefits proportionally to the amount of gasoline that they use is flat wrong.

    It’s a myth that obfuscates realities that need to be recognized in any discussion about higher taxes for transportation – whether it be gas taxes, income taxes, or whatever.

    The reality is that different kinds of land-use/development utilize road capacity and road maintenance at different levels that are NOT proportional to the amount of gas tax paid.

    The metrics back this up.

    The subdivision example compares two folks – both of who own the exact model car and drive exactly 15K a year and pay exactly the same amount of gas tax but require very different levels of maintenance services.

    The guy who lives in an apartment will require far less maintenance services than the guy that lives on a cul-de-sac at the end of a one mile subdivision road.

    The difference is that in that guy in the subdivision had to pay the DIFFERENCE between his maintenance and the apartment dwellers – then his COSTS would be much higher even though both of them pay the same amount of gas tax.

    Both of the hypothetical guys would pay about $1.50 a day in gasoline taxes but the guy in the cul-de-sac will consume easily.. ten times that amount in maintenance costs for his road as compared to the guy who also pays the same exact gasoline tax – but lives in a compact development.

    If you raise the gasoline tax – on BOTH guys to make up the shortfall – you actually widen the inequities.

    If these costs are put directly on the locality – what will happen – is the locality will be faced either with raising taxes for maintenance or allocating those costs to homeowners with those that need more road -paying more – just as they would if they used more water/sewer and/or electricity.

    This is the problem.

    We do not allocate costs according to useage.

    If we provided water/sewer and electricity like we do roads – we’d bankrupt both systems.

    We’d have the water/sewer/electrical equivalent of congestion crises such as low water flows and power blackouts.

    In other words Degraded levels of services – DOH… that’s the problem with roads right now.. because there is no real connection between what people actually pay and what they use.


    1. – ALL subdivision costs paid by those who live in those subdivisions.
    Pay your money – make your choice

    2. – User TOLLs for EVERYONE for major highways – again – if you want to drive an SUV SOLO at rush hour – then fine – pay your fair share – as compared to the guy who goes to work in a Van Pool.

    If these two things were done – the Crisis would disappear – not only near term but longer term.

    Mr. Chichester and friends would NOT be coming back in a few years for more money.

  21. Ray Hyde Avatar

    If they both drive 15k miles don’t they both get 15k miles of maintenance services?

  22. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Whatever happened to the various proposals to shift more of the road maintenance costs to one of the biggest cost causers — heavy trucks? IMO, the added gas tax and registration fees paid by larger trucks probably doesn’t cover the damage that the big ones cause to all types of roads. But, as per ususal, I stand ready to be corrected with data.

    This is another issue about which the MSM remains silent.

  23. Ray Hyde Avatar

    In my mind there is no doubt. Heavy trucks do pay more, but no where near as much as the excess damage they cause: it isn’t linear by weight, and the fees probably are.

    It has also been my observation that the trucks with thos little signs, “This truck pays more than $4782 / year in road use taxes”, ar the ones most likely to drive as if they own the road.

  24. Ray Hyde Avatar

    In my mind there is no doubt. Heavy trucks do pay more, but no where near as much as the excess damage they cause: it isn’t linear by weight, and the fees probably are.

    It has also been my observation that the trucks with thos little signs, “This truck pays more than $4782 / year in road use taxes”, ar the ones most likely to drive as if they own the road.

  25. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Dale Bennett with the Virginia Trucking Association responded to earlier comments on this blog (a few months ago) that I had made suggesting that trucks were not pulling their load, taxwise. He made a fairly persuasive case that in fact they were. I can’t remember the details, and I can’t find the citation, so I’m not much contribution to this thread. All I’m saying is, do not assume that trucks aren’t paying their fair share.

  26. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Jim & Dale Bennett – Please find the information and put it or a link to it in the blog. As I vaguely recall, the information was somewhat vague. I have a couple of engineer friends who are quite interested in this topic and would likely give the materials a good review. I recall one of these engineers informing me that one heavy truck causes as much damage as several thousand autos. Do trucks pay fees and gas taxes on a proportional basis? Let’s get the numbers on the web.

    Pardon my cyncism, but we also have lobbyists arguing that the Silver Line will help fix traffic problems despite the fact that the State’s own evidence shows no improvement.

  27. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: “If they both drive 15k miles don’t they both get 15k miles of maintenance services?”

    No they don’t.

    The guy that lives in an apartment gets no maintenance services on his parking lot – it’s part of his rent.

    The guy that lives in a private subdivision gets his road repaired and plowed by VDOT.

    So HIS money goes to take care of his road and the apartment dwellers money goes to maintain public roads that both he and the guy in the subdivision drive on.

    What if BOTH of their contributions were spent ONLY on public roads? Would VDOT now have money issues?

    The answer is that every year 400 new lane miles of subdivision roads are give to VDOT to maintain and so every year they have less money left over for other roads.

  28. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    this one is easy.

    Say a truck goes 500 miles a day. This is a reasonable number for a “working” 18 wheeler.

    500 miles a day, 5 days a week is about 120,000 miles a year. lets round to 100K.

    Say.. he gets 5 miles per gallon –

    100,000/5 = 20,000 gallons per year..

    Now.. multiple by 35 cents (17 state + 17 Fed)… 20,000 x .35 =

    That would be about 7K a year in taxes.

    Most of those signs on the trucks for for less than that.

    It’s about what you’d pay if you drove a car that far..that got 5 mpg.

    But this is one of those “can’t win deals because no matter what a trucker pays for gasoline taxes – it gets passed on to you when you buy the product.

    This is one of those issues like business and sales taxes.. where folks believe that the businesses pay these taxes as “their share” but in reality, they just pass those costs on to consumers.. as part of the purchase price.

    Remember that next time someone claims that a new business will “contribute” a whole bunch of tax dollars to the local government. It’s really just another hidden tax on consumers.

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