Arlington County’s Proposed 2007 Budget is “Caring “ and “Egalitarian”
In a section of his proposed Fiscal Year 2007 budget labeled “community inclusiveness,” the County Manager writes, “Egalitarian values are at the heart of the Arlington vision and are a distinguishing feature of the community . . . This community views a caring philosophy as part of its core strategy for economic sustainability in a global economy.” I guess that philosophy pretty much underlies county and school expenditures that are expected to increase 6.2% to $974.1 million. The Manager’s budget proposes a reduction in the real estate tax rate equivalent to five cents. However, the County Board is not obligated to follow that recommendation.
Unless the County Board reduces the current real estate tax rate of $0.878 per $100 of assessed valuation, the average residential tax bill will have increased from $2,074 in 2000 to $4,757 in 2006, an increase of 129.4%. By comparison, if that tax payment of $2,074 had increased only as fast as inflation during those six years, it would be equivalent to $2,388 today. Look at it this way: the run-up in housing prices has given the County Board a windfall of $2,369 in tax revenue on each residence in Arlington ($4,757 minus $2,388). Where is the accountability?