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Rembember that It Takes Two to Tango

For most Arlington property owners, the sticker shock most received when they opened their 2005 assessments from the county may be starting to wear off. Remember, though, that assessments only become onerous when the Arlington County Board approves the budget in April and sets the tax rates for the next year. Put another way, increasing assessments may benefit the property owner, but the tax rate virtually always benefits the government. The County Board can, if they choose, reduce the real estate tax rate sufficiently so that your tax payment for 2005 is no higher that 2004. The headline in today's Washington Post, "Arlington Property Values Up 24 Percent," highlights the burden that Arlington taxpayers may have to bear this year, though it also notes that county "Republicans are already calling for a substantial cut in the county's tax rate of 95.8 cents." The Post article also noted that the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission had "warned recently that Arlington needs to stop spending money at the same rate based on its growing property tax revenue." Contact the County Board (see link at right).

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