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March 21, 2004

Guess the Tax Rate!

Hey kids! Hereís a game we all can play. Itís called Guess the Tax Rate. Win an Axes of Taxes t-shirt from ACTA. Click here for all the fun higher taxes will bring.

March 20, 2004

"Year after year, they only want more"

If you think that sounds like a complaint about the Arlington schools, your correct. It's a quote included in an article in this week's (March 10-16, 2004) Arlington Connection. Even though inflation hovers at 2%, and although the Schools estimate that enrollment will drop by 175 students, the Schools are asking Arlington taxpayers to pony up an additional $20 million for the coming school year, an increase of 6.4%. For further information of how the Schools plan to spend your taxes, look at the Superintendent's Fiscal Year 2005 Proposed Budget (requires Adobe Reader).

Fight back! Speak up at the County Board's tax rate hearings on Thursday, March 25, and tell the Board to make a meaningful cut in taxes. For further information, contact ACTA's president at president@acta.us.

March 17, 2004

17% Increase in Real Estate Taxes Just Not Enough

Even though the County Manager proposes to squeeze at least $37 million out of Arlington taxpayers in additional real estate, he also proposes raising water and sewer rates (see March 7, 2004 entry below), Additionally, the Manager's proposed budget for fiscal year 2005 identifies as a policy priority the need to raise the E-911 tax from $1.75 to $3.00. While a new emergency communications center may be fully justified, the County Board needs to direct the Manager to prioritize spending needs, and then spend taxpayer money only for the most pressing needs.

Are you planning to speak at the tax rate hearings on Thursday, March 25? Bring your friends and neighbors, and tell the County Board what to do with the many tax rates. The County's announcement on the tax rate hearings contains details on the time, place, and procedures, e.g., two-minute vs. five-minute time limits.

March 07, 2004

Paying more for unleaded in Arlington (water, that is)

By now, most Arlingtonians know that Arlington issued a warning last week about lead in county's water supply. The story came out in the Wednesday, March 3, Washington Post. However, the following day, the March 4, weekly edition of the Sun-Gazette carried the story, written as of Monday morning, March 1, "Officials: Lead is not a Problem, Contamination is an Unlikely Threat" on page 7. But, as the Washington Post story noted, "As late as midafternoon yesterday, the county's Web site carried the headline, "Lead not a Concern in County Water."" Nevertheless, Arlingtonians will be paying more for their water later this year. At its February 21 meeting, the Arlington County Board voted to propose raising the water/sewer rate by 17% -- from $5.30 per thousand gallons to $6.20 effective May 1, 2004. The Manager's report to the County Board (Adobe Reader required) about the rate increase warned "Additional rate increases in the next few years will be necessary due to . . . improvements needed to meet environmental needs and regulatory requirements." The bottom line -- beware of warnings made by Arlington's Pooh Bahs.

March 02, 2004

Two Ex-Govenors Say: Let the People Decide

Quoting from today's Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Because the people of Virginia were promised their taxes would not be raised, we believe our fellow citizens deserve an opportunity to vote by referendum before such broken promises are enacted into law," Wilder and Allen, Wilder's successor as governor in 1994, said in a joint statement." By "broken promises," the two former governors were referring to Gov. Mark Warner (D) and several senior legislators in the Virginia Senate, which is currently controlled by Republicans. Mr. Wilder also said, "The effort to exclude the everyday citizens from the tax debates has been so successful that the voice of the hardworking taxpayer is hardly being heard in Richmond today," according to today's Washington Times. The Virginian Pilot's story included the following from House Speaker Willaim Howell (R): "If the governor feels so strongly about these historic taxes, the people ought to have an opportunity to weigh in."

If you haven't already done so, please tell your state legislators how you feel about increasing state taxes. Need the address or phone number of your legislator in Richmond, contact ACTA.