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Property Tax Increases, Money Well Spent?

Property Tax Increases, Money Well Spent?
If you're like most apartment owners, you're damned mad to see how much your property taxes have increased. You feel helpless to do much because of the dire straits the various beneficiaries of your taxes are in. So, why are they going up? Look no further than to your own state Legislatures and Governor. Many states are giving tax dollars away to their cronies, wealthy individuals and corporations, in the name of economic development. For example, in Kansas, under the PEAK program (Promoting Employment Across Kansas) employers get to keep 95% of employee withholding taxes which could be going to help pay for schools, libraries, roads, and hospitals. Another example is the Sales Tax Revenue bond program (STAR). Bonds were issued to build projects in the Legends at Village West such as the Nebraska Furniture Mart and Livestrong Sporting Park. The occupants enjoyed owning the buildings while the sales taxes of patrons paid for the bond costs. With both programs, taxes were being distributed to a few wealthy individuals and corporations instead of being used by the state to fund schools, infrastructure and social programs for its citizens. Now that's what I call redistribution of wealth. The extension and expansion of these programs has been supported by Kansas State Governor Brownback, a big advocate of limited government. Nineteen states have programs similar to the PEAK program, only instead of employee withholding being used to fund bonds, they are remitted to the state, and the employers get a dollar-for-dollar tax credit thereby......
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Apartment Leases Resemble Commercial Leases?

A major factor contributing to the improved health of apartments is many apartment leases are becoming more like triple net commercial leases. Many if not all “utility” costs as well as well as governmental and quasi-governmental costs are being passed through to residents, however,  owners cannot pass on increases in property taxes, insurance, maintenance or standard on-site administrative costs in excess of a base year to residents. Somewhat surprisingly, residents haven’t balked en masse at the increases in charges, perhaps because many are former homeowners who are accustomed to paying them. As pointed out in the Winter 2012 issue of Texas Apartments by Wendy Wilson, the Texas Apartment Association General Counsel, developing lease provisions to meet the realities of the marketplace while conforming to the intricacies of the law is a top priority.  She has developed a new lease addendum allowing apartment owners to allocate a variety of governmental charges and fees to residents, such as “street repair/maintenance, emergency services, conservation districts, inspection and registration/licensing”. Owners and operators who also charge for services more akin to utilities such as central cable and satellite TV, stormwater/drainage, and trash pick-up/recycling fees, can include all such charges in one addendum. In some states, amortized capital improvements for stormwater/sewer facilities and school district expenditures, are also being passed through to residents regardless of whether such charges appear on utility bills or property tax bills. Ms. Wilson points to a variety of formulas for allocating such costs. No doubt, there is and will continue to be......
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