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Here a County Board, There a County Board, Everywhere Arlington County Boards

ACTA has repeatedly pointed out that year after year after year tax collections by the Arlington County Board consistently exceeds population growth and inflation by a significant margin. In a policy paper from Americans for Tax Reform (requires Adobe), Elizabeth Karasmeighan writes: “Thanks to the strong housing market and an insatiable desire of local government officials to spend taxpayer money, the rising property tax burden is the most pressing issue facing state and local governments. Although more than 40 states have property tax limits of some kind, ineffective policies and multiplying loopholes have contributed to the rising pressure on taxpayers. Over the past twenty-five years, tax collections have exceeded population growth by 55 percent, or roughly 2 percent per year. These continual increases in local property taxes above the rate of population and inflation are squeezing homeowners and reducing economic growth.”

Karasmeighan then goes on to compare the tax reform measures implemented in Massachusetts and New Jersey. In 1977, Massachusetts had the highest per capita property taxes in the nation at $1,543 while New Jersey was second at $1,446. However, because of the contrasting measures used, the property tax burden in Massachusetts decreased by 7.5% while those in New Jersey increased by 36 percent. She concludes that with property tax reform on the 2006 agendas of several states, Massachusetts Proposition 2 ˝ provides “an effective, flexible option that lowers property taxes and puts the voter in charge of local decisions.” To see what is being proposed to reform property taxes in Virginia, see plank #2 of the Freedom & Prosperity Agenda.