December 12, 2017

Feds Collect Record Taxes, but Still Run $202 Billion Deficit

CNSNews.com's editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey reports on the Treasury Department's latest Monthly Statement, writing:

"The federal government collected record total tax revenues of $443,715,000,000 in the first two months of fiscal 2018 (Oct. 1, 2017 through the end of November), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.

"Despite these record tax revenues, the federal government still ran a deficit of $201,761,000,000 for those same two months.

"That is because the government spent $645,476,000,000 in October and November."

Jeffrey added:

"Prior to this year, the $432,362,820,000 in total taxes (in constant 2018 dollars) that the federal government collected in the first two months of fiscal 2016 was the greatest amount of taxes the federal government had ever collected in the first two months of a fiscal year."

The Treasury Monthly statement for FY 2018 through November 30, 2017, can be found here.

He included the following graphic, which appeared in the Treasury Department report"

  

In commenting on the "year-end debt dilemma," the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget concludes:

"The national debt is at a post-war record high and rising unsustainably. Fixing the debt will take a bipartisan effort to slow spending growth and increase revenues. The first step, however, is to agree not to make the existing fiscal situation worse.

"These unprecedented fiscal challenges present an opportunity for policymakers to come together and restore fiscal sustainability. Doing so is critical to securing both our fiscal and economic futures, and it will increase the resources and flexibility needed to address other critical priorities."

Growls readers concerned about responsible federal budgeting are encouraged to engage their members of Congress. Contact information is available at the Library of Congress' Congress.gov. Taxpayers living in Virginia's Arlington County can contact:

  • Senator Mark Warner (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-2023
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-4024
  • Representative Don Beyer (D) -- write to him or call (202) 225-4376

Be sure to ask for a written response. And tell them ACTA sent you.

December 11, 2017

First Subsidized Housing, Then Subsidized Internet Service

The Arlington Sun Gazette reported today that "(r)esidents of the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing’s Arlington Mill Residences would receive free wireless Internet courtesy the Arlington taxpayers, under a proposal slated for County Board consideration on Dec. 16."

Here are the details, according to the Sun Gazette:

"County staff are asking for authorization to spend $95,400 in funds to provide free Internet service to the 122 committed-affordable units in the complex, located just north of Columbia Pike.

“For many of these low-income households, who make on average $40,000 before tax, the $45-$75 per month cost for a good high-speed Internet connection is unaffordable,” said Nina Janopaul, president and CEO of the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing.

"The entire effort will cost about $140,000, with the remainder coming from outside contributions. Funding will support a pilot program that might expand to other low-income communities across the county."

The item is scheduled to be on the Arlington County Board's so-called consent agenda on Saturday, December 16, 2017 (Consent Agenda Item 18). Following is the 'summary' from the County Manager's 14-page report to the County Board:

A new initiative, Arlington Digital Inclusion, supported by the Department of Technology Services (DTS) and Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD), will leverage the County’s existing dark fiber assets (ConnectArlington) to provide free broadband internet connectivity to tenants of the Arlington Mill Residences for a period of three years. Currently, there are 122 committed affordable units (CAFs) at Arlington Mill Residences and 159 children are currently residing at the development. About half of all households (61) do not currently subscribe to an Internet/data service. This program would provide free, in-unit high-speed Wi-Fi access to every unit. It would also help alleviate the cost of Internet/data service (which can range from $50-$75/month) for those households currently paying for the service. This initiative is the result of the collaboration between DTS, CPHD, APAH, and other partners to be selected by APAH.

In addition, the Manager provides the following 'fiscal impact' statement in his report:

"The allocation of $95,400 to APAH will be fully funded by the FY 2019 Columbia Pike TIF base budget. In addition, APS will realize some savings. APS currently has a program called MiFi which provides personal devices and associated wireless service to students who would not otherwise have access, and therefore could not utilize digital learning resources. This initiative will eliminate the need for APS MiFi to provide such personal devices and associated wireless services to students residing at Arlington Mills Residence, saving APS on average $100 per device and $16.95 per month for service fees, as well as ensuring both students and other residents have access to higher bandwidth service."

Ah, the generosity of the County Board, the County Manager, and county staff? I venture they would be nowhere near as generous if that $95,000 was coming out of their payroll benefits.

Growls readers concerned about the fiscal soundness of so-called subsidized housing are encouraged to engage the Arlington County Board. Take a couple of minutes to make your views known to the Board. Remember, construction doesn't start until next summer. Just click-on the link below:

  • Call the County Board office at (703) 228-3130

And tell them ACTA sent you.

December 08, 2017

Arlington is One of Top 5 Richest Counties in America

CNSNews.com's Terry Jeffrey reported yesterday, "The five richest counties in the United States when measured by median household income are all suburbs of Washington, D.C.. . . ."

Specifically, he reported:

"According to the American Community Survey's new five-year estimates (2012-2016), the five richest counties in the country are: Loudoun County, Va., where the median household income was $125,672; Falls Church City, Va., where it was $115,244; Fairfax County, Va., where it was $114,329; Howard County, Md., where it was $113,800; and Arlington County, Va., where it was $108,706."

Jeffrey pointed out that Arlington's median household income "was 96.5 percent greater than the national median."

He included the following chart showing the 20 richest counties in the United States:

In case you wondered about the inclusion of Falls Church, for example, he pointed out, "The Census Bureau treats independents cities—such as Falls Church City, Va., and Fairfax City, Va.—as counties, which is why they are included on the list."

In addition, he reported, "The nationwide median household income in 2012-2016, according to the Census Bureau, was $55,322. That means that the income in the nation's four richest counties—Loudoun, Falls Church City, Fairfax County, and Howard County—were all more than double the national median."

Many of the reader comments are worth reading. There are currently 613. Here's another link to the article.

For more information about CNSNews.com, click here.

December 06, 2017

A Thought about Taxation

“When men get in the habit of helping themselves to the property of others, they cannot easily be cured of it.”

~ The New York Times, in a 1909 editorial opposing the very first income tax

HT Walter E. Williams' Collection of Quotations.

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Items in Growls are written by individual ACTA members and do not necessarily represent the views of the Arlington County Taxpayers Association, Inc. Please send comments about Growls to The Growl Meister