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Will Tax Rate Cut This Year be "Substantial" Enough?

The big question from now until April when the Arlington County Board sets the real estate tax rate is how much will the Board cut the rate to offset the average 24% increase in residential real estate assessments. According to this week's Arlington Sun-Gazette, the Board chairman "has promised that this year's cut . . . will be more substantial than those in recent years." Over the past few years, the Board has grudgingly cut that rate by a measly one or two pennies annually. In the article, the paper quotes Wayne Kubicki, arguably the premier 'cruncher' of county financial data, saying the Board can cut the rate between 8 and 9 cents "and still have five percent budget growth this year." Meanwhile, at their meeting this morning, the Sun-Gazette reports, "County Board members . . . unanimously lined up behind General Assembly legislation that would provide tax relief for homeowners, saying they would work to forge alliances throughout the commonwealth to support the proposal." This week's Sun-Gazette also reported on the "tax relief" legislation patroned by Delegate Bob Brink (D). To see a summary and status of Brink's "homestead exemption" legislation, click here. In our humble opinion, a cut of 8 to 9 cents is a good starting point. County and School government has been growing much faster than inflation for many years now, and it's time for the County Board to become fiscally responsible. [Updated 1/31/05]

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