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If an 18% increase in Assessments is Alarming, What is One of 20%?

The Virginian Pilot reports today that Norfolk's City Council may cut the city's real estate tax rate after a 10.5% increase last year and an anticipated increase of 18% this year. In fact, the paper reports that some Council members have called the anticipated 18% increase 'alarming.' If 18% is an alarming increase in real estate assessments, then what is 20% since that is what the Arlington County Manager (see his September 8, 2004 memo) has predicted as the increase for residential property owners in Arlington County? The Virginian Pilot story is worth reading because it is evident that government bureaucrats are more concerned about the welfare of government than they are of their jurisdiction's taxpayers. For example, one Council member told the paper, "The people crying for real estate tax relief already have a loaf of bread under each arm." Does this legislator deserve to be reelected? Real estate assessments continue to rise all across the Commonwealth. The Central Virginian (only the general homepage 'link' is available) reports that assessments in Louisa County are up 35% over a two-year period, an increase which the paper's editorial described as "skyrocketing." Arlington County taxpayers need to be careful when opening your mailboxes in the next few weeks -- there may be a fire burning inside from the county's mailing of their 2005 assessments.

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