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Arlington County Board Puts Meaning into 'Redistribution of Income'

At their June 26, 2004 meeting, the County Board (requires Adobe Reader) defined the phrase 'redistribution of income' when they advertised a public hearing for their July 10 meeting. In essence, the Board will approve increasing the taxes on cigarette smokers, and use the money to reduce real estate property taxes. Or at least that's the promise. In years past, Arlington has not been successful in getting the General Assembly to 'equalize' the cigarette tax imposed by counties (5 cents) and cities (10 cents), However, during the wrangling over this year's state budget, and the huge state tax increase, localities were allowed to raise their cigarette taxes as high as the state tax on cigarettes. The Board chairman, Barbara Favola, was quoted in the June 23-29 Arlington Connection saying the money would be used to "establish a real estate tax reduction fund" although she reiterated there is no guarantee of a reduction in property taxes. The ACTA president noted that while reduced property taxes were good news, there needs to be a reduction in the size of Arlington's government. The July 1 Arlington Sun-Gazette also noted that the tax is likely to increase even further next year when the state tax rate is scheduled to rise.

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