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Caps Not Needed. Just Cut the Tax Rates!

An editorial in today's Richmond Times-Dispatch takes dead aim at the Arlington County Board, and this week's decisions (formally on Saturday, April 16) by the Board regarding the new tax rates and budget for Fiscal Year 2006, which starts July 1. The editorial takes note of how much the Board may cut Arlington's real estate tax rate and the tax plan of gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine (D), which calls for a consitutional amendment allowing local governments to exempt up to 20% of homeowner assessments as a "homestead exemption." Cutting directly to the chase, the editorial closes by asking, "Doesn't the Constitution already allow local officials to cut the tax rate by however many percentage points they wish?" Perhaps the recent run-up in property taxes will help voters focus on the fact that the amount of property taxes is a function of both increased assessments, which the Board has little control of, and tax rates, which the Board has complete control of. If so, the Board will find it more difficult to continue singing their "we have the lowest tax rate in the region" song.

See Gary Brookins' cartoon, which accompanied the above Times-Dispatch editorial.

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